\ ˈbrəsk How to pronounce brusque (audio) \
variants: or less commonly brusk

Definition of brusque

1 : markedly short and abrupt a brusque reply
2 : blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness was brusque with the customers

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from brusque

brusquely adverb
brusqueness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for brusque

bluff, blunt, brusque, curt, crusty, gruff mean abrupt and unceremonious in speech and manner. bluff connotes good-natured outspokenness and unconventionality. a bluff manner blunt suggests directness of expression in disregard of others' feelings. a blunt appraisal brusque applies to a sharpness or ungraciousness. a brusque response curt implies disconcerting shortness or rude conciseness. a curt command crusty suggests a harsh or surly manner sometimes concealing an inner kindliness. a crusty exterior gruff suggests a hoarse or husky speech which may imply bad temper but more often implies embarrassment or shyness. puts on a gruff pose

Did You Know?

We borrowed "brusque" from French in the 1600s. The French, in turn, had borrowed it from Italian, where it was spelled "brusco" and meant "tart." And the Italian term came from "bruscus," the Medieval Latin name for butcher's-broom, a shrub whose bristly leaf-like twigs have long been used for making brooms. English speakers initially used "brusque" to refer to a tartness in wine, but the word soon came to denote a harsh and stiff manner - which is just what you might expect of a word bristling with associations to stiff, scratchy brooms.

Examples of brusque in a Sentence

She asked for a cup of coffee and received a brusque reply: “We don't have any.” The teacher was brusque and impatient.
Recent Examples on the Web On March 24, Gallego stunned members of the Sul Ross State University Foundation with two brusque letters to Pete Peterson, the foundation’s board president. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Garcia: Former congressman Pete Gallego feuds with university foundation and state senator," 2 Apr. 2021 One of my favorite parts of my earliest Peter Luger visits was when an inevitably brusque yet joke-cracking veteran waiter would toss a handful of gold chocolate coins on the table with the check. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, "Bringing Peter Luger Home," 19 Mar. 2021 Now sample the coverage of the suit’s brusque dismissal by a New York state Supreme Court judge. Washington Post, "Opinion: Judge tosses absurd Trump campaign lawsuit against the New York Times," 10 Mar. 2021 Cuomo's brusque attitude could be his undoing, said Rozell. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "How Ralph Northam paved the way for Andrew Cuomo to keep office," 8 Mar. 2021 The choice for Howland thus becomes one between the vulnerability of the inmate and the brusque, fatuous bullying of the keeper. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "What a Lost Psych-Ward Memoir Teaches Us About Madness," 5 Jan. 2021 By the early 1780s, a brusque Scottish gardener named Thomas Blaikie had arrived, immediately identified Monceau’s shortcomings and persuaded the duke to make wholesale changes. Washington Post, "An 18th-century Parisian garden of delight can teach us much about what not to do today," 9 Dec. 2020 Ayatollah Khamenei responded with brusque words of his own, denouncing the accusations, and Karroubi was later put under house arrest for several days. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Is Iran's Supreme Leader preparing to designate his son as the next in line?," 8 Dec. 2020 The camera glides probingly around her until, in a brusque dash, Malina arrives to supervise her output. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The Literary Frenzy of Werner Schroeter’s “Malina”," 15 Nov. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of brusque

circa 1639, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brusque

French brusque, from Italian brusco, from Medieval Latin bruscus butcher's-broom (plant with bristly twigs)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brusque

Time Traveler for brusque

Time Traveler

The first known use of brusque was circa 1639

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about brusque

Statistics for brusque

Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brusque.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brusque



English Language Learners Definition of brusque

: talking or behaving in a very direct, brief, and unfriendly way


\ ˈbrəsk How to pronounce brusque (audio) \

Kids Definition of brusque

: so abrupt and frank in manner or speech as to be impolite a brusque doctor a brusque reply

Other Words from brusque

brusquely adjective
brusqueness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on brusque

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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