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See more synonyms for bruise on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), bruised, bruis·ing.
  1. to injure by striking or pressing, without breaking the skin: The blow bruised his arm. Her pinching bruised the peaches.
  2. to injure or hurt slightly, as with an insult or unkind remark: to bruise a person's feelings.
  3. to crush (drugs or food) by beating or pounding.
  4. Metalworking. to injure the surface of (an ingot or finished object) by collision.
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verb (used without object), bruised, bruis·ing.
  1. to develop or bear a discolored spot on the skin as the result of a blow, fall, etc.
  2. to become injured slightly: His feelings bruise easily.
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  1. an injury due to bruising; contusion.
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Origin of bruise

before 900; Middle English bro(o)sen, bres(s)en, bris(s)en, bruisen, representing Old English brȳsan, brēsan and Anglo-French bruser, Old French bruisier, akin to briser to break; see brisance
Related formsun·bruised, adjective
Can be confusedbrews bruise
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

mar, injure, blacken, wound, crush, batter, deface, pulverize, pound, beat, damage, mark, zing, blemish, black, contuse

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British Dictionary definitions for bruising


  1. causing bruises, as by a blow
  2. aggressively antagonistic; hurtfulfour months of bruising negotiation
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  1. a bruise or bruises
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verb (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to injure (tissues) without breaking the skin, usually with discoloration, or (of tissues) to be injured in this way
  2. to offend or injure (someone's feelings) by an insult, unkindness, etc
  3. to damage the surface of (something), as by a blow
  4. to crush (food, etc) by pounding or pressing
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  1. a bodily injury without a break in the skin, usually with discoloration; contusion
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Word Origin

Old English brӯsan, of Celtic origin; compare Irish brūigim I bruise
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 bruising



Old English brysan "to crush, bruise, pound," from Proto-Germanic *brusjanan, from PIE root *bhreus- "to smash, crush" (cf. Old Irish bronnaim "I wrong, I hurt;" Breton brezel "war," Vulgar Latin brisare "to break"). Merged by 17c. with Anglo-French bruiser "to break, smash," from Old French bruisier "to break, shatter," perhaps from Gaulish *brus-, from the same PIE root. Related: Bruised; bruising.

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1540s, from bruise (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

bruising in Medicine


  1. An injury to underlying tissues or bone in which the skin is unbroken, often characterized by ruptured blood vessels and discolorations; a contusion.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.