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adjective bru·tal \ˈbrü-təl\

Simple Definition of brutal

  • : extremely cruel or harsh

  • : very direct and accurate in a way that is harsh or unpleasant

  • : very bad or unpleasant

Full Definition of brutal

  1. 1 archaic :  typical of beasts :  animal

  2. 2 :  befitting a brute: as a :  grossly ruthless or unfeeling <a brutal slander> b :  cruel, cold-blooded <a brutal attack> c :  harsh, severe <brutal weather> d :  unpleasantly accurate and incisive <the brutal truth> e :  very bad or unpleasant <a brutal mistake>

bru·tal·ly play \-təl-ē\ adverb

Examples of brutal

  1. Sailors sometimes faced brutal punishments like whipping.

  2. a brutal struggle for survival in the wilderness

  3. The writer describes the dangers of drugs with brutal honesty.

  4. The movie is a brutal depiction of the war.

  5. The traffic was brutal on the way to work.

  6. I had a brutal headache this morning.

Origin of brutal

Middle English, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin brutalis, from Latin brutus — more at brute

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of brutal

brutal, brutish, bestial, feral mean characteristic of an animal in nature, action, or instinct. brutal applies to people, their acts, or their words and suggests a lack of intelligence, feeling, or humanity <a senseless and brutal war>. brutish stresses likeness to an animal in low intelligence, in base appetites, and in behavior based on instinct <brutish stupidity>. bestial suggests a state of degradation unworthy of humans and fit only for beasts <bestial depravity>. feral suggests the savagery or ferocity of wild animals <the struggle to survive unleashed their feral impulses>.

Rhymes with brutal

BRUTAL Defined for Kids


adjective bru·tal \ˈbrü-təl\

Definition of brutal

  1. :  cruel and harsh <brutal treatment>

bru·tal·ly adverb

Seen and Heard

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February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

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