Definition of brusque
- a brusque reply
- was brusque with the customers
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She asked for a cup of coffee and received a brusque reply: “We don't have any.”
The teacher was brusque and impatient.
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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.
First Known Use: circa 1639See Words from the same year
: talking or behaving in a very direct, brief, and unfriendly way
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