See more synonyms for brood on
  1. a number of young produced or hatched at one time; a family of offspring or young.
  2. a breed, species, group, or kind: The museum exhibited a brood of monumental sculptures.
verb (used with object)
  1. to sit upon (eggs) to hatch, as a bird; incubate.
  2. (of a bird) to warm, protect, or cover (young) with the wings or body.
  3. to think or worry persistently or moodily about; ponder: He brooded the problem.
verb (used without object)
  1. to sit upon eggs to be hatched, as a bird.
  2. to dwell on a subject or to meditate with morbid persistence (usually followed by over or on).
  1. kept for breeding: a brood hen.
Verb Phrases
  1. brood above/over, to cover, loom, or seem to fill the atmosphere or scene: The haunted house on the hill brooded above the village.

Origin of brood

before 1000; Middle English; Old English brōd; cognate with Dutch broed, German Brut. See breed
Related formsbrood·less, adjectiveun·brood·ed, adjective
Can be confusedbrewed brood

Synonyms for brood

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Synonym study

1. Brood, litter refer to young creatures. Brood is especially applied to the young of fowls and birds hatched from eggs at one time and raised under their mother's care: a brood of young turkeys. Litter is applied to a group of young animals brought forth at a birth: a litter of kittens or pups. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brooded

Contemporary Examples of brooded

Historical Examples of brooded

  • He sank into the chair, and brooded over the embers, and shed tears.

    A Tale of Two Cities

    Charles Dickens

  • This afternoon it brooded motionless, an image of forest reflection.

    Bride of the Mistletoe

    James Lane Allen

  • It was the loveliest evening that brooded round us as we walked.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • I have brooded on that subject so long, that every breath of suspicion carries me back to it.

    Barnaby Rudge

    Charles Dickens

  • Now it did not slumber, but it brooded, like the mist that had so lately left the sea.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

British Dictionary definitions for brooded


  1. a number of young animals, esp birds, produced at one hatching
  2. all the offspring in one family: often used jokingly or contemptuously
  3. a group of a particular kind; breed
  4. (as modifier) kept for breedinga brood mare
  1. (of a bird)
    1. to sit on or hatch (eggs)
    2. (tr)to cover (young birds) protectively with the wings
  2. (when intr , often foll by on, over or upon) to ponder morbidly or persistently
Derived Formsbrooding, noun, adjectivebroodingly, adverb

Word Origin for brood

Old English brōd; related to Middle High German bruot, Dutch broed; see breed
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 brooded



Old English brod "brood, fetus, hatchling," from Proto-Germanic *brod (cf. Middle Dutch broet, Old High German bruot, German Brut "brood"), literally "that which is hatched by heat," from *bro- "to warm, heat," from PIE *bhre- "burn, heat, incubate," from root *bhreue- "to boil, bubble, effervesce, burn" (see brew (v.)).



"sit on eggs, hatch," mid-15c., from brood (n.). The figurative meaning ("to incubate in the mind") is first recorded 1570s, from notion of "nursing" one's anger, resentment, etc. Related: Brooded; brooding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

brooded in Medicine


  1. litter
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.