There are 2 main definitions of brush in English:


Syllabification: brush
Pronunciation: /brəSH


1An implement with a handle, consisting of bristles, hair, or wire set into a block, used for cleaning or scrubbing, applying a liquid or powder to a surface, arranging the hair, or other purposes: a paint brush
More example sentences
  • Don't comb with a bristle brush when your hair is wet, because it can pull hair out more quickly.
  • In each case the slip was most likely applied with a brush or other implement, rather than being trailed in liquid form from a slip cup.
  • She dipped it into the glass of water that was beside it and then put the bristles of the brush into the red paint that lay spilt on the floor.
1.1An act of sweeping, applying, or arranging with a brush or with one’s hand: he gave the seat a brush
More example sentences
  • All it takes is a single brush of color across the lids or under the eyes or a touch at the outer corners.
  • Two of the retired sheepdogs from the neighbouring farm occasionally come to visit us, and we make them welcome, give them a stroke or a brush and a few dog biscuits.
  • A final brush of powder over DiCaprio's nose, a dip inside the corner of his eye, and it's take three.
sweep, wipe, dust
1.2 (usually brushes) A thin stick set with long wire bristles, used to make a soft hissing sound on drums or cymbals.
More example sentences
  • The sound is almost like brushes on a snare drum.
  • A wide variety of drumsticks, including hard sticks, soft mallets, and brushes, is used.
  • The bass on the piano was heavily distorted and the drum brushes were too heavy.
1.3The bushy tail of a fox.
More example sentences
  • Shortly after the tragic incident people started to notice that every night a large fox with a black brush would come and lay across the old woman's grave.
  • But the tail, drooping down the side of the shrine, is long and straight; and club-shaped at the tip, more like the brush of a fox than the curved tail of a dog, which is normally carried in an upright position rather than low down like that of a jackal, wolf, or fox.
  • Not a muzzle or a brush of a fox is to be seen.
2A slight and fleeting touch: the lightest brush of his lips against her cheek
More example sentences
  • Stepping closer to carefully wind it around her shoulders, the light brush of his fingers against her skin was enough to send a shiver through her.
  • She shut her eyes and wished Daiju and Suku were with her until she felt a light brush against her forehead.
  • The car kept interpreting the lightest brush of foot against pedal as an invitation to perform an emergency stop.
touch, stroke, skim, graze, nudge, contact;
2.1A brief encounter with someone or something unpleasant or notable: a brush with death my first brush with fame
More example sentences
  • Then there is a therapy service, Aftercare, to treat people who have been traumatised by their brief brush with fame.
  • His brief brush with crime came early yesterday morning while he was attending the annual UWI Splash fête at Bowen Marine, Chaguaramas.
  • After a brief brush with academia, he slipped into the life of a freelance writer, producing company histories, TV scripts and a bit of Emmerdale.
encounter, clash, confrontation, conflict, altercation, incident
informal run-in
3A piece of carbon or metal serving as an electrical contact with a moving part in a motor or alternator.
More example sentences
  • Thus, pump life has been limited by the wear of the brushes in conventional brush-type motors.
  • It's a wonderful piece of machinery; brushes and tubes fit together perfectly.
  • I realize that the brushes, which transfer the electric current, are probably the key, but come on!


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1 [with object] Remove (dust or dirt) by sweeping or scrubbing: we’ll be able to brush the mud off easily he brushed himself down
More example sentences
  • He carefully brushed dirt and grit away from the skeleton he was unearthing with a tiny, soft-haired brush.
  • ‘So far, we have found five skeletons in this pit,’ he added, carefully brushing the dirt from a left femur.
  • Desiree walked to one of the windows, and tried to brush the dust out of it.
1.1Use a brush or one’s hand to remove dust or dirt from (something): she brushed down her best coat
More example sentences
  • Putting a brave face on it, I picked myself up, brushed myself down and carried on to school, buckled front wheel wobbling like a clown's car.
  • Standing up, she brushed herself down and looked to her left.
  • The Chief picked himself off the floor and brushed himself down.
1.2Clean (one’s teeth) by scrubbing with a brush.
More example sentences
  • Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth at least four times a day (after meals and at bedtime).
  • She taught me about what her grooming needs would be, everything from cleaning her face to brushing her teeth.
  • I changed into a long t-shirt and clean underwear and then brushed my teeth, washed my face, and combed my hair.
1.3Arrange (one’s hair) by running a brush through it.
More example sentences
  • An Afro or wide-toothed comb is ideal for brushing tightly curled black hair.
  • Each evening, she sat in a chair on the balcony, brushing her long auburn hair while watching the sun set over the ocean.
  • She pulled her favourite hairbrush out of the top right-hand drawer and started brushing her long auburn hair.
groom, comb, neaten, tidy, smooth, arrange, fix, do;
1.4Apply a liquid to (a surface) with a brush: brush the potatoes with oil
More example sentences
  • There are also many proprietary liquids and pastes that have a disagreeable taste and can be brushed onto surfaces that the horse favours.
  • Brush the potatoes with a little melted butter or dripping.
  • Once the pan is hot, brush the roast with the olive oil, and sear on all sides, approximately 8 to 10 minutes total cooking time.
2 [no object] Touch lightly and gently: stems of grass brush against her legs
More example sentences
  • Lexi patted Jordan's cheek lightly and then brushed past him, so she could make her way towards his room.
  • Lia tilted her head to the side, allowing his fingers to brush against her cheek, lightly.
  • I gently brushed past them and walked to the side of the stage.
touch, stroke, caress, skim, sweep, graze, contact;
2.1 [with object] Push (something) away with a quick movement of the hand: she brushed a wisp of hair away from her face
More example sentences
  • Gold-brown hair fell into her eyes and he pushed it back, brushing it behind her ear, and cupping her cheek in his hand.
  • Eave breathed out and stepped back, carefully pushing one of Raine's plaits behind her shoulder, brushing a loose strand away from her face.
  • She reached up to push them away, but before she could Brandon brushed them away for her and tucked them behind her ear.
push, move, sweep, clear


Middle English: noun from Old French broisse; verb partly from Old French brosser 'to sweep'.

Phrasal verbs

brush someone/something aside

Dismiss someone or something curtly and confidently: people brushed aside the possibility of imminent war
More example sentences
  • She had taken her prospectus to a colleague, but he dismissed the idea, brushing it aside with ‘the industry is too broad.’
  • Sure, one can have an opinion, but it can be brushed aside, shrugged off - it's just your point of view, after all.
  • The ‘because I say so’ attitude of old seems to be disappearing - largely because street-wise, confident children are brushing it aside, demanding to be given the rationale behind requests.
overlook, pay no attention to, take no notice of, neglect, forget about, turn a blind eye to, turn a deaf ear to;
reject, spurn;
laugh off, make light of, trivialize
informal pooh-pooh

brush someone back

Baseball , informal (Of a pitcher) force a batter to step back to avoid being hit by a ball pitched close to the body.
More example sentences
  • And on top of that, the pitcher would think twice about trying to brush the batter back off the plate.
  • Baseball is all about pitching inside and trying to brush the batter back off the plate.
  • I would have brushed him back off the plate a couple of times.

brush someone/something off

Dismiss someone or something in an abrupt way: the state brushed off the idea as something that would never happen
More example sentences
  • The Japanese didn't buy it, brushed it off and dismissed it.
  • My ex tried to talk to the bitch woman after the game, but she at first ignored him and then brushed him off, saying that parents who complain are problems she doesn't have time for.
  • He then went up to her and tried to start a conversation but she brushed him off and ignored him.
rebuff, dismiss, spurn, reject;
ignore, disregard, snub, turn one's back on, give someone the cold shoulder, freeze out;
jilt, cast aside, discard

brush past

Touch fleetingly and in passing: she brushed past him to leave the room
More example sentences
  • Scented geraniums release their fragrances to the air only when you touch them or brush past.
  • I brush past some onlookers too scared to get their hair wet and step outside.
  • His jaw drops, the cameraman giggles and I brush past him and head into the store.

brush up on

Improve one’s previously good knowledge of or skill at a particular thing: brush up on your telephone skills
More example sentences
  • Perhaps your reading comprehension skills need a little brushing up on.
  • These camps keep children amused while allowing them to brush up on their acting skills, the backstroke or learn to play a sport.
  • If I were him, I'd start brushing up on my typing skills.
relearn, read up (on), go over, study;
improve, sharpen (up), polish up;
hone, refine, perfect
informal bone up (on)



(chiefly technical )
More example sentences
  • The Hydro-Foam is a remote control electric airplane powered by a brushless motor and lithium-polymer batteries.
  • Intended for direct-drive applications in large inertia and high torque load systems, brushless torque motors deliver stall torque ranging from 2 to 1490 lb/ft.
  • Motor designs include brushed DC motors incorporating advanced materials for high power/mass and brushless DC motors that are widely recognised for their reliability and tailored performance.

Definition of brush in:

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There are 2 main definitions of brush in English:


Syllabification: brush
Pronunciation: /brəSH


chiefly North American & Australian/New Zealand
1Undergrowth, small trees, and shrubs.
More example sentences
  • A witness had saw a suspect throwing a flaming device from the side of the road into the brush here, which caught fire.
  • The brush in southern California looks as if it will burn: It's dry and creepy.
  • Ray climbed down the tree and looked around in the brush, without any luck.
1.1Land covered with undergrowth, small trees, and shrubs.
More example sentences
  • Sometimes he would tell gruesome tales about medical procedures practiced in the jungle brush.
  • Her breathing was harsh and ragged as she stumbled through the brush, glancing back over her shoulder fearfully.
  • Suddenly a brown-haired stallion came galloping out of the brush.
1.2North American Cut brushwood.
More example sentences
  • Gwyn managed to make a warm fire out of a pathetic pile of dry sticks and brush.
  • Build a brush pile near your feeder to make sparrows, towhees, and other shy birds feel more at home, but be sure it won't harbor roaming cats.
  • A Cook County Forest Preserve District representative last week said brush pile fires, set to dispose of chopped trees and buckthorn, and prescribed burns pose no threat to the public.


Middle English: from Old French broce, perhaps based on Latin bruscum, denoting an excrescence on the maple.

Definition of brush in: