Definition of brood in English:


Syllabification: brood
Pronunciation: /bro͞od


  • 1A family of young animals, especially of a bird, produced at one hatching or birth: a brood of chicks
    More example sentences
    • Within three days of birth a brood of young may have been led a distance of almost a mile.
    • The first nest containing a brood of tiny young was found in a slight depression in the ground beneath birches.
    • Competition between siblings for resources is widespread in the broods of altricial birds.
    offspring, young, progeny; family, hatch, clutch
  • 1.1Bee or wasp larvae.
    More example sentences
    • Sealed worker brood was taken from the experimental colonies and incubated until adult emergence.
    • Efficient concurrent functioning of both the guard and brood stealers is necessary to complete the task of stealing brood.
    • In honeybees, worker policing via egg eating enforces functional worker sterility in colonies with a queen and brood.
  • 1.2 informal All of the children in a family: he was the youngest in a brood of six figurative a remarkable brood of writers
    More example sentences
    • She is one of a brood of eight, the majority of whom were female.
    • His five sisters and their broods descend each summer creating an instant barrage of family noise.
    • Just around the corner from me there is a French infants' school, and the street is clogged with cars each morning as elegant French mothers arrive with their smart little broods.


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  • 1 [no object] Think deeply about something that makes one unhappy: he brooded over his need to find a wife
    More example sentences
    • A severe attack usually coincides with a stinking hangover and can start as early as midday, from whence I will spend the rest of the weekend brooding on the inevitability of Monday morning.
    • ‘The day after the defeat is probably the worst, you start brooding on it, on what went wrong,’ Ford said.
    • Where comedy was once light-hearted, it now seems to have turned into the television equivalent of Gordon Brown, a serious figure brooding on the great issues.
    worry, fret, agonize, mope, sulk; think, overthink, ponder, contemplate, meditate, muse, ruminate
  • 2 [with object] (Of a bird) sit on (eggs) to hatch them.
    More example sentences
    • Many of the birds are already brooding aquamarine eggs, but some are still in the construction phase.
    • All our study birds continued brooding and provisioning their chicks after the removal of telemetry gear.
    • Incubation lasts 10 to 16 days; chicks hatch synchronously and are brooded for about 4 days depending on the weather.
  • 2.1(Of a fish, frog, or invertebrate) hold (developing eggs) within the body.
    More example sentences
    • This sponge broods embryos and larvae at all times, allowing year-round access to biological material.
    • Cichlids follow a typical developmental pattern but some species brood the eggs in the mouth while developing.
    • A few sea urchins brood their eggs in special pouches, but most provide no parental care.
  • 3 [usually followed by over] (Of silence, a storm, etc.) hang or hover closely: a winter storm broods over the lake
    More example sentences
    • A couple of minutes of silence brooded in between us, causing discomfort from both of us.
    • In time, something begins to hover and brood over the wreckage.
    • A sulphurous cloud broods over the ground; vapors float; the air curls round anti round in dizzying waves; wreaths of smoke entwine us.


[attributive] Back to top  
  • (Of an animal) kept to be used for breeding: a brood mare
    More example sentences
    • For the second successive year Driffield-based hunter breeders Michael and Jeryl Grubb landed the county championship for home-bred brood mares.
    • To the rear of Kelgara House brood mares graze in the fields of the neighbouring Meadow Court Stud.
    • We ne'er shall look upon her like again, unless we can prevail upon some Bedouin Chief to present us with a brood mare, and then the racing world shall see what a breed we shall introduce into this country.


Old English brōd, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch broed and German Brut, also to breed. sense 1 of the verb was originally used with an object, i.e., 'to nurse (feelings) in the mind' (late 16th century), a figurative use of the notion of a hen nursing chicks under her wings.

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