bru·tal·i·ty | \brü-ˈta-lə-tē \
plural brutalities

Definition of brutality 

1 : the quality or state of being brutal

2 : a brutal act or course of action

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Examples of brutality in a Sentence

the brutalities of a prison the police were accused of brutality for using excessive force in making arrests

Recent Examples on the Web

The remains of those men and boys slaughtered at the enclave in July 1995 will be laid to rest Wednesday in the town whose name has become synonymous with the brutality of the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Washington Post, "Bosnian Muslims to bury 35 Srebrenica massacre victims," 11 July 2018 All were moved to fight for certain issues in their respective communities, from police brutality, to illnesses caused by the coal industry, to the broken health-care system. Yohana Desta, HWD, "The Establishment Didn’t Think Ocasio-Cortez Could Win—But This Documentary Filmmaker Did," 29 June 2018 When your own house or your school can be attacked without qualms, when traditional safe-havens become targets, how can boys and girls escape the brutality of war? Satoshi Sugiyama, New York Times, "U.N. Reports Sharp Increase in Children Killed or Maimed in Conflicts," 27 June 2018 Less whimsically, the same character contemplates the brutality of contemporary politics. The Economist, "Lauren Groff’s short stories pulse with hidden malevolence," 21 June 2018 The ugly brutality of the former and the winking self-consciousness of the latter have both run their course. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The Artfully Made Hereditary Is the Latest Horror Film to Elevate the Genre," 7 June 2018 The roots of the Kim dilemma lie in the brutality of the 1950-53 Korean War, during which as much as a quarter of the North’s population was killed., "Why Doesn’t North Korea Want to Be More Like Its Neighbors?," 23 May 2018 As the Hartford woman charged with murder in the deaths of three members of a Griswold family appeared in court Monday, details emerged of the brutality of the slayings. David Owens,, "Details Emerge Of Brutality In Deaths Of Griswold Family Members," 14 May 2018 The brutality of Cena and Lesnar got a nice injection of pure athleticism with Seth Rollins, taking the 2015 Royal Rumble by storm., "50 greatest wrestling matches of all time," 8 May 2018

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

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for brutality

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brutality

The first known use of brutality was in 1550

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More Definitions for brutality



English Language Learners Definition of brutality

: cruel, harsh, and usually violent treatment of another person


bru·tal·i·ty | \brü-ˈta-lə-tē \
plural brutalities

Kids Definition of brutality

1 : the quality of being cruel and harsh … she wept and importuned Heaven with a recital of their brutality.— Jack London, The Call of the Wild

2 : a cruel and harsh act or course of action the brutalities of prison

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Comments on brutality

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