bru·​tal·​ize | \ ˈbrü-tᵊl-ˌīz How to pronounce brutalize (audio) \
brutalized; brutalizing

Definition of brutalize

transitive verb

1 : to make brutal, unfeeling, or inhuman temperaments brutalized by poverty and disease
2 : to treat brutally an accord not to brutalize prisoners of war

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Other Words from brutalize

brutalization \ ˌbrü-​tᵊl-​ə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce brutalization (audio) \ noun

Examples of brutalize in a Sentence

a young man brutalized by the experience of war She claimed she had been sexually brutalized.
Recent Examples on the Web Over the weekend, de Blasio announced his decision to lift the curfew a day earlier than planned, having been routinely and publicly denounced for letting the NYPD brutalize his constituents under its cover. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "A Fragile Answer to the Question of “Whose Streets?”," 10 June 2020 In this moment, curfews have been used to mass arrest people, to brutalize and terrorize activists, and even to harass and detain bystanders and essential workers, who are supposedly exempt from curfews. Erin Corbett,, "Police Are Beating People To The Ground To Enforce The Racist Curfew," 5 June 2020 An interview with a young woman by the online news outlet Asian Boss captured not only the anger but the deep sadness that many people felt watching the police brutalize city residents with seemingly little remorse and no repercussions. Timothy Mclaughlin, The Atlantic, "Lessons for American Police From Hong Kong," 5 June 2020 Cities have been locked down and economies brutalized as governments try to prevent the spread. Anna Edney,, "Trump Touts Drug That FDA Says Isn’t Yet Approved for Virus," 8 May 2020 In the late 1990s, four officers calling themselves the Riders would brutalize and plant evidence on people. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "Meet the psychologist exploring unconscious bias—and its tragic consequences for society," 26 Mar. 2020 The police officer who brutalizes him in the film’s central incident is a Franco-African, Gwada, at the edge of a breakdown. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "A Movie Torn From the Pages of His Life," 6 Dec. 2019 She’d been surprised by and then enamored of this pregnancy, finally brutalized by its loss. Cristina Escobar, Glamour, "Miscarriage Is Getting More Common on TV—But That Still Didn’t Prepare Me for the Reality," 24 Apr. 2020 After about 600 peaceful protesters began the first march — a 54-mile trek from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital in Montgomery — they were brutalized by police officers using nightsticks, whips, and tear gas. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "It Shouldn't Take Violence for White Americans to Push for Black Civil Rights," 7 Mar. 2020

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

circa 1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for brutalize

Time Traveler

The first known use of brutalize was circa 1704

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Statistics for brutalize

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brutalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for brutalize


How to pronounce brutalize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brutalize

: to cause (someone) to lose ordinary human kindness or feelings
: to treat (someone) in a very harsh and usually violent way

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More from Merriam-Webster on brutalize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brutalize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brutalize

Spanish Central: Translation of brutalize

Nglish: Translation of brutalize for Spanish Speakers

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