\ ˈbrüd How to pronounce brood (audio) \

Definition of brood

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : the young of an animal or a family of young especially : the young (as of a bird or insect) hatched or cared for at one time a hen with her brood of chicks
2 : a group having a common nature or origin the entire brood of chronicle plays— T. S. Eliot
3 : the children of a family takes their brood to church every Sunday



Definition of brood (Entry 2 of 3)

: kept for breeding (see breed entry 1 sense 3) a brood flock


brooded; brooding; broods

Definition of brood (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to sit on or incubate (eggs)
b : to produce by or as if by incubation : hatch
2 of a bird : to cover (young) with the wings
3 : to think anxiously or gloomily about : ponder I used to brood these things on my walk— Christopher Morley

intransitive verb

1a of a bird : to brood eggs or young
b : to sit quietly and thoughtfully : meditate
2 : hover, loom the old fort brooding above the valley
3a : to dwell gloomily on a subject brooded over his mistake
b : to be in a state of depression sat brooding in her room

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Synonyms for brood

Synonyms: Verb

hatch, incubate, set, sit

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The Eggy History of Brood

One of the noun senses of brood that is often encountered today is "the children of a family" (as in "they showed up at the picnic with their whole brood"). This may seem as though it is unrelated to the most commonly used verb sense, which is "to think anxiously or gloomily about; ponder," but the two words come from the same source, the Old English brōd. The noun form of brood came first, and the verb, when it appeared in our language, was used to refer to the action of chickens sitting on their eggs. Eventually the verb began to be used in a figurative manner, and took on the "worriedly pondering" sense it has today.

Examples of brood in a Sentence


a hen and her brood of chicks Mrs. Smith took her brood to church every Sunday.


He brooded over his mistake. After the argument, she sat in her bedroom, brooding.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the book, Seierstad introduced Rais as a tyrant lording over his sullen brood. Christopher De Bellaigue, The New York Review of Books, "The Seduction of Jihad," 4 Apr. 2019 Some are nurses who take care of the brood; some are janitors who clean the hive; others are foragers who gather nectar to make honey. National Geographic, "How honeybees get their jobs—explained," 22 Mar. 2019 Perhaps the Plantagenets were the devil’s brood after all. Allan Massie, WSJ, "‘The Restless Kings’ Review: A Family at War With Itself," 11 Jan. 2019 Keep your brood fed and busy with 6 places kids can eat free this summer and 10 free and cheap deals for summer fun. Doreen Christensen,, "Freebie Friday: Free donuts, free kids meals all summer, free summer camps and fun," 7 June 2019 He‘s just the latest arrival in the thriving Kardashian-West brood, which includes eldest daughter North, Saint, and Chicago. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West Welcome Their Fourth Child via Surrogate," 10 May 2019 Finally, on May 11, 2017, Willa Gray arrived in Nashville as the newest addition to the Rhett brood, which gave the family of three time to bond before their second daughter arrived. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Everything to Know About Thomas Rhett and Lauren Akins' Adorable Kids," 7 Apr. 2019 Sabine Ranch holds some of Texas’ best remaining nesting/brood rearing habitat for mottled ducks, and its wetlands and prairie attract some of the densest concentrations of wintering waterfowl found on the upper Texas coast. Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle, "Major additions in the works for Texas’ public lands," 22 Apr. 2018 Her brood looked all grown up, dressing in dark and neutral colors to match with her chic coat dress. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Angelina Jolie Brought All Six of Her Kids to a Film Screening in NYC," 26 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Baldwin brood already includes the couple’s daughter Carmen Gabriela, 5½, as well as sons Romeo Alejandro David, 1, Leonardo Ángel Charles, 2½, and Rafael Thomas, 4 this month, plus Alec’s daughter Ireland, 23. Jen Juneau,, "Hilaria Baldwin Isn't Done Having Kids: 'They're My Favorite Things in the World So Why Not?'," 11 June 2019 Jonas, our brooding male lead, accidentally traveled to a post-apocalyptic 2052 and was captured by an unknown group. Abbey Maxbauer,, "R29 Binge Club: Netflix's Dark Season 2 Recap," 25 June 2019 Unsurprisingly, most students at Lakeridge High School, where Sarnowski is a freshman, don’t tend to brood on anti-Semitic incidents or genocides in faraway Cambodia and Rwanda. Richard Read,, "Young girl inspires Oregon legislation to require Holocaust study in schools," 4 June 2019 The falcons were spotted this spring brooding in the Roland Park water tower in the 4200 block of Roland Ave. Lillian Reed,, "Baltimore's fledgling Peregrine falcons begin taking short solo flights; blue jay picks a fight," 3 June 2019 Between movements, he can be seen in a state of brooding contemplation — cracking his knuckles, rubbing his forehead, burying his face in his hands. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Head Tripping the Light Fantastic in ‘Symphonie Fantastique’," 4 Apr. 2018 Kit Harington let loose during his guest appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend, proving there's much more to him as a performer than the brooding Jon Snow. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kit Harington Spoofs Game of Thrones Spinoffs on Saturday Night Live," 8 Apr. 2019 The actor, who had been starring on Riverdale up until his passing, got his career started on soap operas Loving and Another World, but was catapulted into superstardom by his role as brooding teen hunk Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "How to Stream '90210' Right Now for a Dose of Nostalgia," 4 Mar. 2019 In another, scenes of Felix brooding alone in a room gradually filling with water are interspersed with images of bleeding black African bodies that disappear beneath the landscape. Julie Belcove, WSJ, "William Kentridge Tackles the History of Apartheid and Colonialism in His Latest Production," 4 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brood.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brood


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for brood


Middle English, from Old English brōd; akin to Middle High German bruot brood and perhaps to Old English beorma yeast — more at barm


Middle English brod- (in compounds), attributive use of brod, brood brood entry 1


Middle English broden, verbal derivative of brod, brood brood entry 1

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Learn More about brood

Dictionary Entries near brood





brood body

brood bud

brood capsule

Statistics for brood

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brood

The first known use of brood was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for brood



English Language Learners Definition of brood

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a group of young birds (such as chickens) that were all born at the same time
informal : the children in someone's family



English Language Learners Definition of brood (Entry 2 of 2)

: to think a lot about something in an unhappy way


\ ˈbrüd How to pronounce brood (audio) \
brooded; brooding

Kids Definition of brood

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to sit on eggs to hatch them
2 : to cover (young) with the wings for warmth and protection a hen brooding her chicks
3 : to think long and anxiously about something She brooded over her mistake.



Kids Definition of brood (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the young of birds hatched at the same time a brood of chicks
2 : a group of young children or animals having the same mother


\ ˈbrüd How to pronounce brood (audio) \

Medical Definition of brood

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the young of an animal or a family of young especially : the young (as of a bird or insect) hatched or cared for at one time

Medical Definition of brood (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : to sit on or incubate (eggs)
b : to produce by or as if by incubation
2 : to think anxiously or gloomily about

intransitive verb

1 of a bird : to brood eggs or young
2a : to dwell gloomily on a subject
b : to be in a state of depression

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More from Merriam-Webster on brood

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brood

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brood

Spanish Central: Translation of brood

Nglish: Translation of brood for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brood for Arabic Speakers

Comments on brood

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