\ˈbrəsk \
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

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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

This undelivered missive is one of the great paternal indictments in all of European literature, written by a shy, sickly, painfully sensitive 36-year-old Kafka and addressed to his brusque and authoritarian father, Hermann. Jeremy Eichler,, "Kafka encaged, writing to his father," 18 June 2018 The brusque response came as McGahn reached out to each Senate Judiciary Committee member to discuss the Supreme Court confirmation process. Judson Berger, Fox News, "Kamala Harris' office rejected SCOTUS courtesy call from White House: 'We want nothing to do with you'," 10 July 2018 Sanders was the latest to experience a brusque reception in such a setting. Washington Post, "Sanders says she was told to leave Virginia restaurant," 25 June 2018 But the brusque Sutter’s relationship with the team grew strained as the Kings missed the playoffs twice in three years, and he was fired, along with former general manager Dean Lombardi, following the 2016-17 season. Curtis Zupke,, "Former Kings coach Darryl Sutter says he's 'at peace with not coaching'," 20 June 2018 Photo: Getty Images Judge Leon, who was confirmed to the bench in 2002, is known for his assertive and often brusque approach. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, "No Phones, No Exits: The AT&T Judge Wanted Folks to Hear His Verdict," 12 June 2018 The often brusque and famously open-collared CEO has promised to wear a tie in Milan if the company pays off its debt by June 1, marking what seems to be his first public appearance with neckwear since a 2007 audience with Pope Benedict XVI. Chester Dawson, WSJ, "Fiat Chrysler Expected to Tell Investors What Its Future Looks Like Without CEO Marchionne," 26 May 2018 The waitresses, classically clad in black uniforms with black tights, range from brusque to charming, depending on the night. Steven Stolman, Town & Country, "My Lifelong Love of Julia Child Led Me to Her Favorite Restaurant, Chez Georges In Paris," 23 May 2018 Jana, the first violinist, is brusque and unsentimental, imperiously determined to succeed. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction Chronicle: Measure for Measure," 11 May 2018

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.

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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)

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Time Traveler for brusque

The first known use of brusque was circa 1639

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More Definitions for brusque



English Language Learners Definition of brusque

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


\ˈbrəsk \

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

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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 clear from alleged fault or guilt

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