\ 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

Synonyms for brood

Synonyms: Verb

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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

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 Their photogenic brood featured sons Todd (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and Clayton (Dane DeHaan) and daughters Margaret (Sophie Turner), Martha (Odessa Young) and Caitlin (Olivia DeJonge). Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 May 2022 In the first shot, Kim and her brood—North, 8; Saint, 6; Chicago, 4; and Psalm, 2—wear matching Easter pajamas featuring a pattern of cute yellow chicks and colorful eggs. Glamour, 25 Apr. 2022 Chris Brown is celebrating a relatively new addition to his brood. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 8 Apr. 2022 Sitting beside his four older siblings — who translated for the child — Hassan reflected on being back with his brood. Nicholas Rice,, 11 Mar. 2022 Horse breeders and riders alike will also be able to house their brood in the home’s eight-stall barn. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 22 Apr. 2022 Long before their romantic, beachside engagement in October 2021, Kardashian and Barker have focused on blending her brood, from the kids posting adorable TikToks to celebrating Christmas Eve together. Glenn Rowley, Billboard, 11 Apr. 2022 The Osbournes followed the Black Sabbath frontman and his British brood's life in Los Angeles, covering some pivotal moments for the family, including Sharon's 2002 battle with colorectal cancer and Ozzy's near-fatal ATV accident in 2003. Glenn Garner,, 6 Mar. 2022 And the best part of having this big, interconnected brood? Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 14 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Yankees’ ace didn’t brood that whole time, but didn’t forget about the Red Sox chasing him in the third inning of the American League Wild Card. Kristie Ackert, Hartford Courant, 7 Apr. 2022 Biologists this week assigned the famed gray wolf OR-7 and his brood official pack status, the Associated Press reports. The Editors, Outside Online, 9 Jan. 2015 The most limiting factor for these stockings is acquiring brood stock. Matt Wyatt, San Antonio Express-News, 29 Apr. 2021 The department’s goal within the next few years is to create an army of brood fish from ShareLunker offspring. Dallas News, 10 Apr. 2021 Justin Hughes, upland gamebird habitat specialist for Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks in Region 7, said turkeys enjoyed good nesting and brood conditions across the region during 2020. Brian Lovett, Outdoor Life, 8 Jan. 2021 Though still being tabulated, this summer’s study suggests brood survival was favorable, at least in the northeast, Roy said. Star Tribune, 17 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The male seahorses ‘get pregnant’ and brood the babies in their pouch. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 29 Aug. 2021 Keaton’s Wayne, who manages to brood with a sense of humor, communicates with every love language in this film., 4 Feb. 2021 The passengers on the Diamond Princess were mostly asleep, and Arma, not long awake himself, brooded over the possibilities. Lauren Smiley, Wired, 30 Apr. 2020 There is fighting, there are hijinks, there are lots of tall, brooding Central Asians—but beyond Sukhov, there is far too little character development. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 8 Apr. 2020 Almost all presidents brood in private about the insults aimed at them. Edwin L. Battistella, Time, 1 Apr. 2020 Weaks’s brooding Cory, on the other hand, is a complete portrait of boyhood trying to break free of oppressive parental restraint. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 3 Oct. 2019 When emoting and brooding are needed, Daniel Craig portrays James Bond. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, 20 Feb. 2020 On Saturday afternoon, the lines of fans to meet those prices stretched backward through the grim, concrete conventional hall, the fans waiting quietly, dressed as Captain Marvels and Spider-Men and brooding beneath faux-fur as cosplay Jon Snows. Christopher Borrelli,, 13 Oct. 2019 See More

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.

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

Learn More About brood

Time Traveler for brood

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near brood



brood body

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Statistics for brood

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Brood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for brood


\ 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


transitive verb

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

More from Merriam-Webster on brood

Nglish: Translation of brood for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brood for Arabic Speakers


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