Definition of brood in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /bruːd/


1A family of birds or other young animals 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, spawn;
family, hatch, clutch, nest, litter
rare progeniture
1.1 informal A large family of children: she was brought up as part of a brood of eight
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.
family, household, ménage, clan, tribe;
children, offspring, youngsters, little ones, progeny, descendants, issue
informal kids, sprogs
2 [mass noun] Bee or wasp larvae.
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 [no object] Think deeply about something that makes one unhappy, angry, or worried: she had brooded over the subject a thousand times
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 about, fret about, agonize over, mope over, moon over, languish over, feel despondent about, grieve over, sulk about, eat one's heart out over;
think about, ponder, contemplate, pore over, meditate on, muse on, mull over, dwell on, ruminate on/over, chew over, puzzle over, weigh up, turn over in one's mind
2 [with object] (Of a bird) sit on (eggs) to hatch them: the male pheasant-tailed jacana takes over once the eggs are laid and broods 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.
incubate, cover, hatch, sit on
2.1(Of a fish, frog, or invertebrate) hold (developing eggs) within the body.
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.


(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. The verb was originally used with an object, i.e. 'to nurse (feelings) in the mind' (late 16th century), a figurative use of the idea of a hen nursing chicks under her wings.

Words that rhyme with brood

allude, collude, conclude, crude, delude, dude, elude, étude, exclude, extrude, exude, feud, food, illude, include, intrude, Jude, lewd, mood, nude, obtrude, occlude, Oudh, preclude, protrude, prude, pseud, pultrude, rood, rude, seclude, shrewd, snood, transude, unglued, unsubdued, who'd, you'd

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: brood

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

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