EXAMPLES FROM THE WEB FOR BRIG
We had a ship, a brig, and twelve schooners, fourteen sail in all.
I soon began to climb the rigging of the brig, ascending to the mast-heads.
The brig loaded with cocao, in bulk, at Guayaquil, and sailed for Cadiz.
We sailed two days after I joined the brig, and had a ten or twelve days' passage.
The brig sailed, however, and stood across the Atlantic, as if in good earnest.
The idea of remaining in the brig was unpleasant to me, and I had thought of quitting her for some days.
Our passage from Para was good until the brig reached the latitude of Bermuda.
A beautiful American-built brig, was lying in port, bound to Africa, for slaves.
At this time the brig minded her helm, and fell off, coming under command.
The brig must have been about a day's run to the southward of Bermuda.
1720, colloquial shortening of brigantine (q.v.). Apparently such vessels being used for prison ships upon retirement from active duty led to extended meaning "a jail," first recorded 1852.