adjective \ ˈbrəsk \
variants: or less commonly brusk
|Updated on: 14 Jul 2018

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





brusque was our Word of the Day on 08/02/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of brusque in a Sentence

  1. She asked for a cup of coffee and received a brusque reply: “We don't have any.”

  2. The teacher was brusque and impatient.

Recent Examples of brusque from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of brusque

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

BRUSQUE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of brusque for English Language Learners

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

BRUSQUE Defined for Kids


adjective \ ˈbrəsk \

Definition of brusque for Students

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





Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


to beat or defeat soundly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Test Your Emoji Exceptionalism

  • test-your-emoji-exceptionalism-written-with-a-lot-of-emoji
  • What is this emoji intended to represent: 🤳
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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