brutal

adjective
bru·​tal | \ ˈbrü-tᵊl How to pronounce brutal (audio) \

Definition of brutal

1 archaic : typical of beasts : animal thee, Serpent … to me so friendly grown above the rest of brutal kind— John Milton
2 : suitable to one who lacks intelligence, sensitivity, or compassion : befitting a brute: such as
a : grossly ruthless or unfeeling a brutal slander
b : cruel, cold-blooded a brutal attack
c : harsh, severe brutal weather
d : unpleasantly accurate and incisive the brutal truth
e : very bad or unpleasant a brutal mistake

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Other Words from brutal

brutally \ ˈbrü-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce brutally (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for brutal

brutal, brutish, bestial, feral mean characteristic of an animal in nature, action, or instinct. brutal applies to people, their acts, or their words and suggests a lack of intelligence, feeling, or humanity. a senseless and brutal war brutish stresses likeness to an animal in low intelligence, in base appetites, and in behavior based on instinct. brutish stupidity bestial suggests a state of degradation unworthy of humans and fit only for beasts. bestial depravity feral suggests the savagery or ferocity of wild animals. the struggle to survive unleashed their feral impulses

Examples of brutal in a Sentence

Sailors sometimes faced brutal punishments like whipping. a brutal struggle for survival in the wilderness The writer describes the dangers of drugs with brutal honesty. The movie is a brutal depiction of the war. The traffic was brutal on the way to work. I had a brutal headache this morning.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But when Julia Roberts opened that envelope and revealed that this year's winner was Green Book—the 1960s-set race relations drama which has become a lightning rod for controversy since its November release—the online reaction was swift and brutal. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Green Book Won Best Picture and Twitter Is Not Happy," 25 Feb. 2019 One of the abiding mysteries of recent political history remains how the blunt and brutal character standing on the GOP primary stage in his fire-engine-red tie beat the skilled politicians alongside him. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "The Right’s Resistance," 9 Jan. 2019 The attacks were the latest in a series of brutal and near-daily Taliban assaults on military and police forces and government and other installations throughout the country. Rahim Faiez, The Seattle Times, "US airstrike reportedly kills dozens of Afghan civilians," 28 Nov. 2018 Arch urges his new friends to run and attempts to fight back, but the guards are brutal and L&L is corrupt and this scene is a reminder that inmates often suffer abuse at the hands of guards because of the power differential at play. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, ""Riverdale" Recap Season 3 Episode 2: Betty and Jughead Have a New Mystery to Solve," 18 Oct. 2018 Although Indian authorities have clarified that there was no truth to the rumors and the targeted people were innocent, the deadly and brutal attacks, often captured on cellphones and shared on social media, have spread across the country. Washington Post, "India asks WhatsApp to prevent misuse after mob killings," 4 July 2018 Formed in 1968, Josephus foreshadowed heavy metal with the turgid riffs, brutal-but-sparse rhythms, and wildman vocals across their 1970 debut, Dead Man. Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Houston proto-metal misfits Josefus make a rare trip to Chicago," 21 June 2018 Serena does not like realizing how brutal and terrible this actually is. Emily Yahr, chicagotribune.com, "Done watching 'The Handmaid's Tale' after that brutal scene? The episode's writer responds," 20 June 2018 To try something new — something raw and brutal and honest. refinery29.com, "American Animals," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brutal.' 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 brutal

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brutal

Middle English, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin brutalis, from Latin brutus — more at brute

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Dictionary Entries near brutal

brut

Bruta

brutage

brutal

brutalise

brutalism

brutalitarian

Statistics for brutal

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brutal

The first known use of brutal was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for brutal

brutal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of brutal

: extremely cruel or harsh
: very direct and accurate in a way that is harsh or unpleasant
informal : very bad or unpleasant

brutal

adjective
bru·​tal | \ ˈbrü-tᵊl How to pronounce brutal (audio) \

Kids Definition of brutal

: cruel and harsh brutal treatment

Other Words from brutal

brutally adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on brutal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brutal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brutal

Spanish Central: Translation of brutal

Nglish: Translation of brutal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brutal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on brutal

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