the main force or impact, as of an attack or blow: His arm took the brunt of the blow.

Origin of brunt

1275–1325; Middle English; perhaps orig. sexual assault; akin to Old Norse brundr, German Brunft heat, ruttish state, Old English brunetha heat, itching; cognate with Old High German bronado. See burn1

Synonyms for brunt Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brunt

Contemporary Examples of brunt

Historical Examples of brunt

  • In fine, our fathers bore the brunt of more raging and pitiless elements than we.

    Old News

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Keep your men well in hand, for we may have to bear the brunt of the King's dragoons.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • All at once I saw that I myself must bear the brunt of this scandal.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • On this army, it was expected, the brunt of the drive would fall.

  • The girl has taken the brunt of business while we played and she has only the reward of a salary.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

British Dictionary definitions for brunt



the main force or shock of a blow, attack, etc (esp in the phrase bear the brunt of)

Word Origin for brunt

C14: of unknown origin
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 brunt

early 14c., "a sharp blow," of uncertain origin, perhaps from Old Norse brundr "sexual heat," or bruna "to advance like wildfire." Meaning "chief force" is first attested 1570s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with brunt


see bear the brunt.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.