1 : markedly short and abrupt
2 : blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness
Did You Know?
We borrowed brusque from French in the 1600s. The French, in turn, had borrowed it from Italian, where it was spelled brusco and meant "tart." And the Italian term came from bruscus, the Medieval Latin name for butcher's-broom, a shrub whose bristly leaf-like twigs have long been used for making brooms. English speakers initially used brusque to refer to a tartness in wine, but the word soon came to denote a harsh and stiff manner, which is just what you might expect of a word bristling with associations to stiff, scratchy brooms.
"'Where are you getting all this?' Dinah asked, drawing startled or disapproving glances from a few who worried that she was being too brusque with the boss. 'It's only been, what, four hours?'" — Neal Stephenson, Seveneves, 2015
"Archaeologists look down on him because of his working-class background, and his brusque manner hasn't won him many friends. He doesn't argue with those he disagrees with; he just walks away." — Dan Lybarger, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 19 Feb. 2021
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to complete an adjective meaning "not plain and straightforward": m _ _ l _ m _ u _ _ _ d.VIEW THE ANSWER
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP