bru·​tal·​i·​ty | \ brü-ˈta-lə-tē How to pronounce brutality (audio) \
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 Although never experiencing anything like the brutality of Southern politics, after the contentious presidential election of 1876 many Northern elites began to denounce majority rule in politics. Jon Grinspan, CNN, 11 June 2021 While the brutality in our communities is seen as circumstantial misfortune. Malika Redmond, Essence, 10 June 2021 The survivors learned more about who Ted Bundy was, and the brutality of the crimes he was suspected of committing. Tracy Smith, CBS News, 5 June 2021 Larizza explained the decision was made to charge him as an adult given the brutality of the case. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, 28 May 2021 Indeed, Jacksonian democracy aggravated the brutality of common white men toward blacks and Indians alike. Gordon S. Wood, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Rewardingly, Lessovitz favors growth over tragedy, a welcome change as stories about the trans community so often fixate on the brutality perpetrated on them. Los Angeles Times, 27 May 2021 His great films, after all—The Human Condition, Hara-Kiri—dealt with the brutality and hypocrisy of Japanese society, ancient and modern. Christopher Carroll, The New York Review of Books, 25 May 2021 The protracted brutality of Floyd’s death sparked protests and uprisings in more than three hundred and fifty cities in the United States. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 25 May 2021

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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Time Traveler for brutality

Time Traveler

The first known use of brutality was in 1550

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Statistics for brutality

Last Updated

15 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brutality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce brutality (audio) \
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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