brutal

adjective
bru·​tal | \ ˈbrü-tᵊl How to pronounce brutal (audio) \

Definition of brutal

1 : suitable to one who lacks intelligence, sensitivity, or compassion : befitting a brute: such as
a : cruel, cold-blooded a brutal attack
b : harsh, severe brutal weather
c : unpleasantly accurate and incisive the brutal truth
d : very bad or unpleasant a brutal mistake
e : grossly ruthless or unfeeling a brutal slander
2 archaic : typical of beasts : animal thee, Serpent … to me so friendly grown above the rest of brutal kind— John Milton

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Other Words from brutal

brutally \ ˈbrü-​tᵊl-​ē How to pronounce brutal (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for brutal

brutal, brutish, bestial, feral mean characteristic of an animal in nature, action, or instinct. brutal applies to people, their acts, or their words and suggests a lack of intelligence, feeling, or humanity. a senseless and brutal war brutish stresses likeness to an animal in low intelligence, in base appetites, and in behavior based on instinct. brutish stupidity bestial suggests a state of degradation unworthy of humans and fit only for beasts. bestial depravity feral suggests the savagery or ferocity of wild animals. the struggle to survive unleashed their feral impulses

Examples of brutal in a Sentence

Sailors sometimes faced brutal punishments like whipping. a brutal struggle for survival in the wilderness The writer describes the dangers of drugs with brutal honesty. The movie is a brutal depiction of the war. The traffic was brutal on the way to work. I had a brutal headache this morning.
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Recent Examples on the Web As is often the case, the day before a cold front can be brutal. Washington Post, 17 July 2021 One conversation here, one lie there… playing Monday morning quarterback on my gameplay is brutal! Dalton Ross, EW.com, 6 July 2021 Acceleration is brutal, but seamless and near-silent. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 2 July 2021 And even when a specialist is nearby, securing an appointment can be brutal. Robin Erb And Carter Barrett, Detroit Free Press, 2 July 2021 And as much as the leadoff spot (an MLB-worst .644 OPS) and bottom of the order have been issues, the team’s infield defense has been brutal. BostonGlobe.com, 26 June 2021 The author was a child of Provence, and his novels are set in villages where life is hard and the neighbors can be brutal, but the environment sings with a Homeric majesty. Laurie Hertzel, Star Tribune, 25 June 2021 That might suggest people are already wising up to the idea that left turns can be brutal and should be avoided. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 14 June 2021 But those final few Durant-less possessions were brutal. Mike Mazzeo, Forbes, 14 June 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for brutal

Middle English, from Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin brutalis, from Latin brutus — more at brute

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Time Traveler for brutal

Time Traveler

The first known use of brutal was in the 15th century

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Statistics for brutal

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brutal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brutal. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for brutal

brutal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of brutal

: extremely cruel or harsh
: very direct and accurate in a way that is harsh or unpleasant
informal : very bad or unpleasant

brutal

adjective
bru·​tal | \ ˈbrü-tᵊl How to pronounce brutal (audio) \

Kids Definition of brutal

: cruel and harsh brutal treatment

Other Words from brutal

brutally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on brutal

Nglish: Translation of brutal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brutal for Arabic Speakers

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