Share this entry

Share this page

brute

Syllabification: brute
Pronunciation: /bro͞ot
 
/

Definition of brute in English:

noun

1A savagely violent person or animal: he was a cold-blooded brute
More example sentences
  • Running contrary to the accepted belief that Neanderthals were nothing but savage brutes, the child - either a foetus aged seven months or a child no more than a few weeks old - had been buried in a grave.
  • If the people are not violent brutes then they are passive victims.
  • She was the only young girl in a tavern full of large ugly brutes.
Synonyms
thug, lout, ruffian
informal hardman, swine, pig
1.1 informal A cruel, unpleasant, or insensitive person: what an unfeeling little brute you are
More example sentences
  • He's a brute, an offense to human decency.
  • Eventually, though, her Catholic aspirations to Protestant gentility and heavy-handed elocution lessons failed to soothe her brute of a husband.
  • The public would view the woman's affair as a sad, desperate attempt to gain some comfort in the hellish life her brute of a husband had imposed on her.
1.2An animal as opposed to a human being.
Example sentences
  • The landing was home to a pair of scabrous aging brutes, a wolf dog (I suspect) and a forlorn Great Dane.
  • What I remember is that the film starred Will Fyffe, whose big black dog was rather an unreliable brute that was suspected of sheep worrying.
  • Some observers hypothesize that she had been indoctrinated to believe the malicious stereotype of the Ursidae as awkward, clumsy, ill-mannered brutes.
1.3Something awkward, difficult, or unpleasant: a great brute of a machine
More example sentences
  • The written section was tough - hardly anything on quantum theory, and a brute of a paper on the cell chemistry of Micronesian diatomic plankton.
  • It's a brute of a soundwave kicking me in the back of my neck.
  • So, not life or death here - just a brute of a golf course.

adjective

[attributive] Back to top  
1Unreasoning and animallike: a brute struggle for social superiority
More example sentences
  • In today's society our environment and culture has shaped what was once a brute drive to reproduce, into skills and expertise which secure prominence and survival in the modern world.
  • The brute outvoting of one social group by another is not so much Mill's focus as the process by which majority opinion is formed and accepted as legitimate.
  • What kind of animals, what kind of brute beasts have we created in this land?
1.1Merely physical: we achieve little by brute force
More example sentences
  • Tenderness is more of a show of strength than brute force, because it is harder to be compassionate than it is to be mighty.
  • Such relations, contributing to a sense of continuity bridge the gap between the listener and the brute physicality of the musical language.
  • The possession of vast territory, raw physical resources, and brute power guarantees neither prosperity nor peace.
Synonyms
physical, bodily;
crude, violent
1.2Harsh, fundamental, or inescapable: the brute necessities of basic subsistence
More example sentences
  • A moral and ethical position must be based on something more than the mere brute facts of the event.
  • Perhaps morality is just a brute fact of the universe.
  • The permanent features of our situation seem mere brute facts - to be endured or, if possible, gotten around.

Origin

late Middle English (as an adjective): from Old French brut(e), from Latin brutus 'dull, stupid'.

More
  • Brute comes from Old French brut(e), from Latin brūtus ‘dull, stupid’.

Definition of brute in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day cumbersome
Pronunciation: ˈkʌmbəs(ə)m
adjective
large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry…