\ 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

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 The Beckham brood is gracing the October cover of British Vogue to celebrate 10 years of Victoria Beckham's fashion line. Lily Rose, Allure, "Victoria Beckham Poses With David and All Four Kids for British Vogue Cover," 4 Sep. 2018 Cockroach moms deposit this substance into the brood sac where their embryos are developing. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Soy milk, almond milk, oat milk. Spider milk?," 30 Nov. 2018 Most recently, all three members of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal brood were seen together in their Grandfather Prince Charles’ birthday portraits, which were released earlier this month. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Just Gave an Adorable Update on Prince Louis," 29 Nov. 2018 The Gaineses will soon have an even bigger brood: Joanna is pregnant with their fifth child, a boy, due this summer. Megan Stein,, "Chip Gaines Golfs with Sons Drake and Duke After Defending Family Against Critic of His Parenting," 29 May 2018 In that mix was parent of six and actress Angelina Jolie, who stepped out with son Pax to the Burton shop in Santa Monica in search of cool pieces for her brood. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Angelina Jolie Wraps Up in the Perfect Winter Coat," 24 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 That brings the Kardashian West brood up to four, including siblings North and Saint. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West and Kanye Are Expecting Their Fourth Child," 2 Jan. 2019 Twelve years stranded on an island after being overthrown in a coup that was led by his brother, Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan, has been brooding over his grievances while developing his formidable occult powers. Charles Mcnulty,, "'The Tempest' at the Old Globe: Kate Burton casts a benevolent spell as Prospera," 26 June 2018 The new owner had started life as a barber who rose to become a prominent politician under Napoleon, but who later lost Napoleon’s patronage and retired wounded to his house to brood and collect great works of art. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "Male Patterned Boldness: Dolce & Gabbana’s Alta Sartoria Ode to Villa Carlotta," 9 July 2018 That led to a scene described in The Undefeated, with Cousins brooding on that balcony in the pre-dawn Las Vegas heat. Scott Ostler,, "When Cousins made his move," 6 July 2018 The same developer behind Geralt’s brooding, sword-and-magic adventures has now emerged with a first-person, shotgun-crazy, branching-narrative, hack-the-world, exploding-limbs dive into the criminal underbelly of near-future Los Angeles. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Cyberpunk 2077 world premiere: 50 minutes of William Gibson-level insanity," 14 June 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

15 May 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

What made you want to look up brood? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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