\ 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 Schlatka explains, conceding that the Synthesis process can feel edgy or brusque, too intimate too fast perhaps, especially in a professional context. Ephrat Livni, Quartz at Work, "Would you dare take a talent assessment inspired by the testing methods of the IDF?," 25 Nov. 2019 That’s the brusque bromide that football fans utter to justify and rationalize the pain and abuse that NFL players subject their bodies to in the name of wealth, fame, and entertainment. Globe Staff,, "Booing Andrew Luck crossed the line," 31 Aug. 2019 Wever is a marvel as Karen Duvall, a soft-spoken woman of faith whose calm demeanor stands in stark contrast to Collette’s brusque Grace Rasmussen. Kristen Baldwin,, "The 8 must-watch new TV shows this fall," 11 Sep. 2019 Collette is somewhat less nuanced as Detective Rasmussen, a brusque, f-bomb dropping cynic, but the actress brings a believable frustration and anger to her character’s bluster. Kristen Baldwin,, "Netflix's Unbelievable is the only True Detective season 4 we need," 3 Sep. 2019 As sure as your sympathies lie with the workers, Lindon’s brusque authenticity burnishes the emotional pull of the intensely played, often fruitless back-and-forths with political appointees and stoic suits. Robert Abele, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Stéphane Brizé’s French drama ‘At War’ takes up the gritty cry of the working class," 2 Aug. 2019 The background trees in this painting are depicted with brusque brush strokes that give a sense of branches and greenery. Mike Giuliano,, "Artist Jane Knighton simply shows the world as she sees it at Ellicott City gallery," 15 Aug. 2019 Nixon said Kate shared with him complaints about the quality of Craddock’s work and his brusque manner. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "The mystery of mass shooting motives: What if we never learn why?," 8 Aug. 2019 Haaven’s unorthodox method, and Roberts’ sometimes brusque manner in promoting it, didn’t immediately win support from conventional social services agencies. Los Angeles Times, "To house almost 600 homeless people, a Venice couple are working outside the system," 2 Aug. 2019

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

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Brusque.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for brusque


How to pronounce brusque (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on brusque

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brusque

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brusque

Spanish Central: Translation of brusque

Nglish: Translation of brusque for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brusque for Arabic Speakers

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).


to assail by words or arguments

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!