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 brutalize (audio) \ noun

Examples of brutalize in a Sentence

a young man brutalized by the experience of war The prisoners claimed to have been brutalized by their captors.
Recent Examples on the Web This is even more critical when police are allowed to brutalize someone unjustifiably or murder people in the streets. Edward Segal, Forbes, 25 May 2021 Anna’s trauma has helped her in her police work of tracking down the monsters who brutalize children. Washington Post, 23 Apr. 2021 Two years ago, one of the biggest reasons the Twins won 101 games was their ability to brutalize lefthanded pitchers, better than any team in baseball this century over a full season. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, 8 Apr. 2021 There is, seemingly, no desire for conquest, for assimilation into the patriarchal, monarchical order that drove Stefan to brutalize Maleficent and pursue the destruction of the Moors and ownership of Aurora at all costs. Jeanna Kadlec, Longreads, 8 Oct. 2020 The organization said the experimenters brutalize the owls by cutting into their skulls, implanting electrodes in their brains and limiting their ability to react before ultimately killing them. Hallie Miller,, 7 Oct. 2020 Furthermore, the very measures intended to protect people from COVID-19—physical distancing and public mask-wearing—create heightened opportunities for law enforcement to further brutalize and racially profile BIPOC. Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Sep. 2020 But, over a month into this latest period of mass civil unrest, and one thing seems to be clear: The police that continue to brutalize protestors are also trying to appeal to them. Erin Corbett,, 1 July 2020 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, 10 June 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

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brutalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for brutalize



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

More from Merriam-Webster on brutalize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brutalize

Nglish: Translation of brutalize for Spanish Speakers


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