a noisy quarrel, squabble, or fight.
a bubbling or roaring noise; a clamor.
Slang. a large, noisy party.

verb (used without object)

to quarrel angrily and noisily; wrangle.
to make a bubbling or roaring noise, as water flowing over a rocky bed.

Origin of brawl

1350–1400; (v.) Middle English brawlen, brallen to raise a clamor, quarrel, boast; of uncertain origin; (noun) Middle English braule, brall, derivative of the noun
Related formsbrawl·er, nounbrawl·y, adjectiveout·brawl, verb (used with object)un·brawl·ing, adjective

Synonyms for brawl

Synonym study

1. See disorder. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brawl

Contemporary Examples of brawl

Historical Examples of brawl

  • What means this brawl in the open streets at this late hour?

    Calderon The Courtier

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • He repaired to Berlin, and was killed there in a brawl at a gambling den.


    Emile Zola

  • Does it become you to brawl with my garrison the moment you are admitted?


    Raphael Sabatini

  • Only remembering that if he plunder or brawl, I may have to leave him hanging on the next bush.'

    Two Penniless Princesses

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • A drinking den where violent men gather to brawl and gamble.

British Dictionary definitions for brawl




a loud disagreement or fight
US slang an uproarious party

verb (intr)

to quarrel or fight noisily; squabble
(esp of water) to flow noisily
Derived Formsbrawler, nounbrawling, noun, adjective

Word Origin for brawl

C14: probably related to Dutch brallen to boast, behave aggressively




a dance: the English version of the branle
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for brawl

late 14c., braulen "to cry out, scold, quarrel," probably related to Dutch brallen "to boast," or from French brailler "to shout noisily," frequentative of braire "to bray" (see bray (v.)). Meaning "quarrel, wrangle, squabble" is from early 15c. Related: Brawled; brawling.


mid-15c., from brawl (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper