Definition of brown in English:

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Pronunciation: /broun/


1Of a color produced by mixing red, yellow, and black, as of dark wood or rich soil: an old brown coat she had warm brown eyes
More example sentences
  • Everything about it - the taste, the rich dark brown colour, the scent - was wonderful.
  • The décor was navy blue, gold and dark brown wood, and the place almost looked like the inside of a ship.
  • Ilaria was no longer a blue lush world but a dark yellow and brown wasteland.
1.1Dark-skinned or suntanned: his face was brown from the sun
More example sentences
  • He was tall with longish black hair swept out of his eyes, and sun tanned brown skin.
  • The sun just made her brown skin glow even more clearly, making me jealous as hell.
  • I was here in Toronto for like four hours and my light brown skin had that sun kissed look.
1.2(Of bread) light brown in color and typically made with unbleached or unrefined wholewheat flour.
Example sentences
  • Unfortunately, the large, strongly-flavoured brown breadcrumbs overwhelmed the oysters.
  • They let me out after a week because I told the doctor I'd managed to eat a piece of dry brown toast.
  • I start with porridge, and then mid-morning I have six egg whites on brown toast.


1Brown color or pigment: the brown of his eyes a pair of boots in brown the print is rich with velvety browns
More example sentences
  • The area of low-lying swamp or marsh, as revealed through archaeology, is shown in brown.
  • Vertebrate genes are shown in brown, invertebrates in red, plants in green, and fungi in blue.
  • The opposite trend is shown in brown, where residents tend to buy new, not used.
1.1Brown clothes or material: a woman all in brown
More example sentences
  • This seems to be a regular feature; why they don't just do away with green and play in brown, the natural colour of the Borders in winter, remains a mystery.
  • There she was, coming up the platform towards me at Runcorn, all in brown, with fluttering eyelashes.
  • The new guest was followed closely by a puny boy in puke - green and two heavy bumbling guys in brown.


Make or become brown, typically by cooking: [with object]: a skillet in which food has been browned [no object]: bake the pizza until the cheese has browned
More example sentences
  • Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese has slightly browned.
  • Squash the mixture down with a palette knife and cook till the bottom has browned and crisped in the butter.
  • Spread out in pan and sauté over moderate heat for about four to five minutes, until bottom has crusted and browned.



(as) brown as a berry

(Of a person) very suntanned.
Example sentences
  • With luck I'll be brown as a berry once more by the end of the summer.
  • I am sure you will have the holiday of a lifetime and come back to the town looking brown as a berry.
  • I am now as brown as a berry all in a short fortnight.

do something up brown

Do something thoroughly or completely: [as adjective]: a real picnic, done up brown according to all the rules
More example sentences
  • It is one of those things that you can't say: ‘yeah, we did it up brown,’ every time, see.
  • Several weeks ago Earl turned his Ann loose on furnishing their apartment - told her to do it up brown and hang the cost because they didn't know when they would be able to pay for it anyway.
  • And it's no surprise when the Buckley fans decided to do something that they did it up brown.

in a brown study

see study.

Phrasal verbs

brown someone off

(usually as adjective browned off) Make someone feel irritated or depressed: they are getting browned off with the overtime
More example sentences
  • The Colonel said that some of his men were browned off because there had been no opposition on the beaches.
  • He was browned off too - bored out of his mind in a garden pond swimming round the same cement gnome every day.
  • Well dear I suppose you'll be browned off with all that, but if you want to hear of more experiences let me know.



Example sentences
  • It seems to me that we can exhort and hope all we want to, but the imposition of blackness, brownness, yellowness or redness is not something an individual controls.
  • This was all just prelude to the cloud of monkeys that not long after passed like a vast red-faced brownness through our little patch of blue sky.
  • Cooking them to the right level of brownness was more difficult.


Pronunciation: /ˈbrounē/
Example sentences
  • In the early 70s, the store converted to UPC readers, which I now think was rather ahead it of its time. It coincided with an utter browning of the store, though - brown and orange, orangish browns and browny oranges.
  • Dylan goes up to a security guard and describes Janae to him - ‘She's about this high with browny blondish hair.’
  • Rudbeckia Goldquelle is a double-flowered species with bushy growth and mid yellow blooms from July to September while the unusual Rudbeckia mollis has hairy leaves and a browny green cone.


Old English brūn, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bruin and German braun.

  • In Old English brown simply meant ‘dark’. It acquired its modern sense in Middle English. The idea of darkness developed into a further sense of ‘gloomy or serious’, and this is the sense that occurs in the 16th-century phrase a brown study, ‘absorbed in one's thoughts’. The use of ‘study’ is puzzling to us today. It is not a room for working in, but a state of daydreaming or meditation, a meaning long out of use in English. See also auburn, baize

Words that rhyme with brown

Browne, clown, crown, down, downtown, drown, frown, gown, low-down, noun, renown, run-down, town, upside-down, uptown

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: brown

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