brutal

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Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective brutal differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of brutal are bestial, brutish, and feral. While all these words 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

When would bestial be a good substitute for brutal?

The words bestial and brutal are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, bestial suggests a state of degradation unworthy of humans and fit only for beasts.

bestial depravity

In what contexts can brutish take the place of brutal?

The words brutish and brutal can be used in similar contexts, but brutish stresses likeness to an animal in low intelligence, in base appetites, and in behavior based on instinct.

brutish stupidity

When is feral a more appropriate choice than brutal?

Although the words feral and brutal have much in common, feral suggests the savagery or ferocity of wild animals.

the struggle to survive unleashed their feral impulses

Thesaurus Entries Near brutal

Cite this Entry

“Brutal.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/brutal. Accessed 27 Jan. 2023.

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