brow·​beat ˈbrau̇-ˌbēt How to pronounce browbeat (audio)
browbeat; browbeaten ˈbrau̇-ˈbē-tᵊn How to pronounce browbeat (audio) or browbeat; browbeating

transitive verb

: to intimidate or disconcert by a stern manner or arrogant speech : bully
likes to browbeat the waitstaff
Choose the Right Synonym for browbeat

intimidate, cow, bulldoze, bully, browbeat mean to frighten into submission.

intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another.

intimidated by so many other bright freshmen

cow implies reduction to a state where the spirit is broken or all courage is lost.

not at all cowed by the odds against making it in show business

bulldoze implies an intimidating or an overcoming of resistance usually by urgings, demands, or threats.

bulldozed the city council into approving the plan

bully implies intimidation through threats, insults, or aggressive behavior.

bullied into giving up their lunch money

browbeat implies a cowing through arrogant, scornful, or contemptuous treatment.

browbeat the witness into a contradiction

Examples of browbeat in a Sentence

His father likes to browbeat waiters and waitresses. they would often browbeat the younger child until he cried
Recent Examples on the Web Backed by the emphatic Make America Great Again movement, Trump and his allies are browbeating Haley to drop out, which is building up a cacophony of conservatives who resent her staying in the race. Phillip M. Bailey, USA TODAY, 4 Feb. 2024 Too many public schools use a curriculum that confuses browbeating for earnestness, and indoctrination for instruction. Adam M. Carrington, National Review, 17 Dec. 2023 In Kansas, specifically, there is the idea of homeschooling is more of browbeating someone with a Bible and less of learning environment. Rick Porter, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Dec. 2023 The Trump administration slapped tariffs on Chinese goods to browbeat China into increasing its purchases of U.S. agricultural products. Barry Eichengreen, Foreign Affairs, 21 June 2022 Omnivores often cast vegetarians as browbeating evangelists. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Trump subsequently browbeat his maladroit FDA chairman, Stephen Hahn, into issuing an emergency authorization for the use of convalescent plasma to treat COVID-19 patients. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Among charges such as filing false documents and conspiracy to commit forgery, Trump is personally accused of trying to browbeat and suborn felony acts from high-ranking Georgia officials, including the chief elections supervisor, secretary of state Brad Raffensperger. Dell Cameron, WIRED, 25 Aug. 2023 Not to browbeat or criticize others who come at that history with differing views. Brian MacQuarrie,, 13 Aug. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1581, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of browbeat was in 1581

Dictionary Entries Near browbeat

Cite this Entry

“Browbeat.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


brow·​beat ˈbrau̇-ˌbēt How to pronounce browbeat (audio)
browbeat; browbeaten -ˌbēt-ᵊn How to pronounce browbeat (audio) ; browbeating
: to frighten by a stern manner or threatening speech : bully

More from Merriam-Webster on browbeat

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!