Definition of brood in English:


Line breaks: brood
Pronunciation: /bruːd


  • 2 [mass noun] Bee 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.


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  • 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.
  • 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.


[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. 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.

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