bru·​tal·​ize | \ˈbrü-tᵊl-ˌīz \
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 \ 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

The Question was a ruthless, faceless detective who dressed like a noir hero and brutalized criminals. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Steve Ditko’s Ordinary People," 10 July 2018 Defiant, Billy wears Lady Gaga-style costumes to school, and is brutalized for his trouble. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Freak Show,’ the Boy Who Would be Homecoming Queen," 11 Jan. 2018 His conservative supporters, constituting about half of the country, have zealously rallied around him in his defense; the other half of the country, brutalized by Erdogan, profoundly resents him. Soner Cagaptay, Time, "Four Things to Watch in Turkey's Elections," 21 June 2018 Lyoto Machida also picked up a big win, brutalizing Vitor Belfort with a front kick in what was likely Belfort’s last UFC bout. Todd Martin,, "MMA rankings: It was a good month for Ryan Bader," 30 May 2018 Gina Haspel, a career CIA operative who was running the base at the time, told senators last week that the CIA on her watch would never brutalize prisoners. NBC News, "Democrats, rights advocates are close to losing the battle over torture," 11 May 2018 The successful drug dealer manages to secure vast wealth while defying a criminal-justice system that has long brutalized black people. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 Therefore, part of the reason that crime persists in black neighborhoods is not an overabundance of criminals but an awareness that the police are more likely to shoot, kill or brutalize innocent black people. Michael Harriot, The Root, "All Black People Are Victims of Police Brutality," 26 June 2018 Lugo remembers seeing his brother brutalized and left unconscious at the hands of a white supremacist youth gang that roamed Kensington in his adolescence in the 1990s. Cassie Owens,, "Throwing down: How this potter from Kensington found fine art success," 26 June 2018

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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Statistics for brutalize

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for brutalize

The first known use of brutalize was circa 1704

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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

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Comments on brutalize

What made you want to look up brutalize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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