brut·​ish ˈbrü-tish How to pronounce brutish (audio)
: resembling, befitting, or typical of a brute or beast
brutish strength
brutish violence
But its skull is curiously brutish, with thickened braincase walls, massive browridges, and evidence of powerful neck muscles. All in all, H. erectus fits the familiar stereotype of the … caveman.Matt Cartmill
: strongly and grossly sensual
brutish gluttony
He thinks he is a poetic amorist; he is a brutish sensualist.Stanley Kauffmann
: showing little intelligence or sensibility
a brutish lack of understanding
Life without enlightenment is nasty and brutish, yet it is the natural condition …Frank Kermode
brutishly adverb
brutishness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for brutish

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 brutish in a Sentence

She is married to a brutish, drunken slob. as the months of recurrent combat dragged on, the daily existence of the soldiers became increasingly brutish
Recent Examples on the Web The base model also looks slightly different than its more brutish siblings. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 19 Mar. 2024 The sandworms are seen to consume pretty much anything that rhythmically thrums in their territory, from the spice harvester machines to the Imperial Sardaukar and the brutish Harkonnen troops. Popular Science, 6 Mar. 2024 When handsome stranger Easy (Melton) appears, Misty’s 11-year-old son devises a plan to get rid of his brutish father so that his mother can marry Easy instead. Clarissa Cruz, Peoplemag, 22 Feb. 2024 Mariko, the wife of a brutish warrior (Shinnosuke Abe) and the daughter of a dishonored family, feels called to suicide but forces herself to keep living in deference to her Catholic beliefs and out of loyalty to Toranaga. TIME, 7 Feb. 2024 The Chinese series contains only vague references to the Revolution, and didn’t show the book’s brutish portrayals of the Red Guard. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Feb. 2024 For many Russians, life is poor, nasty, brutish and short: Life expectancy is substantially lower than in the United States, even though America’s life expectancy has fallen and lags behind that of other advanced countries. Paul Krugman, The Mercury News, 22 Feb. 2024 People tend to look at early life as brutish, nasty and short. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 Feb. 2024 People tend to look at early life as brutish, nasty, and short. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 2 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brutish.' 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

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of brutish was in 1534

Dictionary Entries Near brutish

Cite this Entry

“Brutish.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


brut·​ish ˈbrüt-ish How to pronounce brutish (audio)
: resembling, befitting, or typical of a brute or beast
lived a short and brutish life as a slave
: showing little intelligence or sense
brutish lack of understanding
brutishly adverb
brutishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on brutish

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