brood

1 of 3

noun

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 playsT. S. Eliot
3
: the children of a family
takes their brood to church every Sunday

brood

2 of 3

adjective

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

brood

3 of 3

verb

brooded; brooding; broods

transitive verb

1
a
: 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 walkChristopher Morley

intransitive verb

1
a
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
3
a
: to dwell gloomily on a subject
brooded over his mistake
b
: to be in a state of depression
sat brooding in her room

Did you know?

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

Noun a hen and her brood of chicks Mrs. Smith took her brood to church every Sunday. Verb He brooded over his mistake. After the argument, she sat in her bedroom, brooding.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The mother of a Buckley-sized brood of young children? Neal B. Freeman, National Review, 9 July 2024 And don’t forget Simpson’s attorney friend Robert Kardashian, the patriarch of what would become an entire brood of reality-TV stars. David Friend, Washington Post, 27 June 2024
Adjective
First, coot parents allow brood reduction to happen, watching their chicks compete to the death. Elizabeth Preston, Discover Magazine, 27 Mar. 2013 Their home became a way station for traveling students, poets and artists, as well as for Mr. Barker’s already sizable brood, many of them grown with families of their own. New York Times, 19 May 2022
Verb
If Louis is the poetic, self-flagellating Werther in this story, then Lestat comes to resemble a variation on Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights—brooding, obsessive, vindictive, yet also earnest in his dangerous form of devotion. Judy Berman, TIME, 1 July 2024 Production designer Simon Bowles and DP Pat Scola (who was also behind the brooding beauty of Pig) take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by New York. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for brood 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brood.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Adjective

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

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near brood

Cite this Entry

“Brood.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brood. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

brood

1 of 3 noun
: a family of young animals or children
especially : the young (as of a bird) hatched or cared for at one time

brood

2 of 3 verb
1
: to sit on eggs in order to hatch them
2
: to cover young with the wings
3
: to think long and anxiously about something
brooded over his mistake
broodingly
-iŋ-lē
adverb

brood

3 of 3 adjective
: kept for breeding
a brood mare
a brood flock

Medical Definition

brood

1 of 2 noun
: 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

brood

2 of 2 transitive verb
1
a
: 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
2
a
: to dwell gloomily on a subject
b
: to be in a state of depression

More from Merriam-Webster on brood

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!