[ brawl ]
/ brɔl /
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See synonyms for: brawl / brawling / brawler on Thesaurus.com

an angry, rough, noisy fight, especially one engaged in under the influence of alcohol: The wild, free-for-all western brawl in the saloon lasts two full minutes and constitutes the movie’s opening scene.
Slang. a large, noisy party.
Obsolete. a bubbling or roaring noise; a clamor.
verb (used without object)
to engage in angry, rough, noisy fighting, especially while under the influence of alcohol: He found that his hero was little more than a drunken, brawling tramp.
to make a bubbling or roaring noise, as water flowing over a rocky bed.
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Origin of brawl

First recorded in 1350–1400; (verb) Middle English brawlen, brallen “to raise a clamor, quarrel, boast”; of uncertain origin; (noun) Middle English braule, brall, derivative of the verb

synonym study for brawl

1. See disorder.


brawl·er, nounbrawl·y, adjectiveout·brawl, verb (used with object)un·brawl·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does brawl mean?

A brawl is a fight, especially a big one involving a lot of people.

Brawl can also be used as a verb meaning to fight or to participate in a brawl. A person who does this or who’s known for fighting in general can be called a brawler.

Much less commonly, brawl can also be used as a slang term for a wild party.

Other rare senses of brawl include its use as a noun referring to a loud, bubbling noise, like water flowing in a stream, or as a verb meaning to make such a noise.

Example: Police are investigating the post-concert brawl that left three people in the hospital.

Where does brawl come from?

The first records of the word brawl come from the 1300s. It comes from the Middle English brawlen, meaning “to raise a clamor,” “to quarrel,” or “to boast.” This word may be related to the Dutch brallen, meaning “to boast” or “to behave aggressively.”

Any fight can be called a brawl, but the word typically refers to a big, noisy, chaotic fight involving a whole group of people. A barroom brawl is a fight that breaks out among people in a bar. A bench-clearing brawl is a fight at a sports game, especially baseball, in which all of the players and coaches leave the bench to participate. Bench-clearing brawls play out in much the same way as most brawls: the fight starts with two people, and then more and more people join in, with fists swinging and people falling over. This might sound funny to watch, but brawls can result in serious injuries.

An organized fight like a boxing match might be called a brawl, especially to make it sound more intense or exciting.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to brawl?

  • brawler (noun)
  • outbrawl (verb)
  • brawly (adjective)
  • unbrawling (adjective)

What are some synonyms for brawl?

What are some words that often get used in discussing brawl?

How is brawl used in real life?

Brawl is nearly always used to refer to big, messy fights involving lots of people. The term is especially associated with big fights at sports games.



Try using brawl!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe a brawl?

A. chaotic
B. intense
C. peaceful
D. violent

How to use brawl in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for brawl (1 of 2)

/ (brɔːl) /

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 forms of brawl

brawler, nounbrawling, noun, adjective

Word Origin for brawl

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

British Dictionary definitions for brawl (2 of 2)

/ (brɔːl) /

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