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

transitive verb

: to make brutal, unfeeling, or inhuman
temperaments brutalized by poverty and disease
: to treat brutally
an accord not to brutalize prisoners of war
brutalization 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 When Ukrainian citizens protested his turn away from the EU, Yanukovych deployed the special police to brutalize and arrest the demonstrators. Michael Kimmage, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 On the same day Trump was arraigned in Washington, federal prosecutors announced guilty pleas in a racist assault on two Black men who were brutalized during a home raid in Mississippi. Colleen Long and Lindsay Whitehurst, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2023 Black adults in particular report having had negative experiences around water, with familial anecdotes of being banned from beaches during Jim Crow-era segregation and brutalized during the integration of public pools. Emily Baumgaertner,, 8 July 2023 Militias liked to make brutalizing sweeps of Gargaresh’s mix of hideouts and encampments. Longreads, 3 Aug. 2023 Fedoruk described how residents were brutalized by Russian soldiers. Maeve Reston, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2023 In the early nineteenth century, enlightened Western nations built asylums that were mostly justified in humanitarian terms, but those places of respite eventually became too-big-to-care institutions that warehoused and brutalized their occupants. George Makari, The New Yorker, 13 July 2023 There are poor and unhoused, and people brutalized or killed by police. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 7 July 2023 Walsh — who sees through Mo’s deception fairly on — presents himself as a charismatic outlaw in the Billy the Kid and Jesse James tradition, a bandit who turned to crime not for personal enrichment but rather to take revenge on a system that brutalized him. Joe Leydon, Variety, 20 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brutalize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1704, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of brutalize was circa 1704

Dictionary Entries Near brutalize

Cite this Entry

“Brutalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on brutalize

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