• synonyms


  1. a noisy quarrel, squabble, or fight.
  2. a bubbling or roaring noise; a clamor.
  3. Slang. a large, noisy party.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to quarrel angrily and noisily; wrangle.
  2. to make a bubbling or roaring noise, as water flowing over a rocky bed.
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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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for brawling

squabble, clash, riot, argument, ruckus, scuffle, fight, feud, melee, wrangle, altercation, fracas, uproar, battle, dispute, free-for-all, quarrel, bickering, tussle, bicker

Examples from the Web for brawling

Contemporary Examples of brawling

Historical Examples of brawling

  • It was Imogen with whom he wandered beside the brawling rill.


    William Godwin

  • And there was more than a little thievery and brawling and rioting.

    The Best Made Plans

    Everett B. Cole

  • I assured him that Maxwell was a quiet Oxford scholar, and incapable of brawling.

  • So, Baron, you think a Parliament in Russia would be merely a place for brawling.


    Oscar Wilde

  • Please not into the roaring, brawling taverns where life thrives in all its abundance.


    Frank Banta

British Dictionary definitions for brawling


  1. a loud disagreement or fight
  2. US slang an uproarious party
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verb (intr)
  1. to quarrel or fight noisily; squabble
  2. (esp of water) to flow noisily
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Derived Formsbrawler, nounbrawling, noun, adjective

Word Origin for brawl

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


  1. a dance: the English version of the branle
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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 brawling



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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper