[ bruhsh ]
See synonyms for brush on
  1. an implement consisting of bristles, hair, or the like, set in or attached to a handle, used for painting, cleaning, polishing, grooming, etc.

  2. one of a pair of devices consisting of long, thin handles with wire bristles attached, used in jazz or dance bands for keeping a soft, rhythmic beat on the trap drums or the cymbals.

  1. the bushy tail of an animal, especially of a fox.

  2. Electricity.

    • a conductor, often made of carbon or copper or a combination of the two, serving to maintain electric contact between stationary and moving parts of a machine, generator, or other apparatus.

  3. a feathery or hairy tuft or tassel, as on the tip of a kernel of grain or on a man's hat.

  4. an act or instance of brushing; application of a brush.

  5. a light, stroking touch.

  6. a brief conflict or fight; skirmish: He has already had one brush with the law.

  7. a close approach, especially to something undesirable or harmful: a brush with disaster.

verb (used with object)
  1. to sweep, paint, clean, polish, etc., with a brush.

  2. to touch lightly in passing; pass lightly over: His lips brushed her ear.

  1. to remove by brushing or by lightly passing over: His hand brushed a speck of lint from his coat.

verb (used without object)
  1. to move or skim with a slight contact.

Verb Phrases
  1. brush aside, to disregard; ignore: Our complaints were simply brushed aside.

  2. brush off, to rebuff; send away: She had never been brushed off so rudely before.

  1. brush up on, to revive, review, or resume (studies, a skill, etc.): She's thinking of brushing up on her tennis.: Also brush up.

Idioms about brush

  1. get the brush, to be rejected or rebuffed: She greeted Jim effusively, but I got the brush.

  2. give the brush, to ignore, rebuff, etc.: If you're still angry with him, give him the brush.

Origin of brush

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English noun brushe, broche, brosc, probably to be identified with brush2, if the original sense was “implement made from twigs, etc., culled from brushwood”; Middle English verb brushen “to hasten, rush,” probably from Old French brosser “to travel (through brush),” derivative of broce (see brush2)

Other words for brush

Other words from brush

  • brush·a·ble, adjective
  • brusher, noun
  • brushlike, adjective
  • un·brush·a·ble, adjective

Words Nearby brush

Other definitions for brush (2 of 3)

[ bruhsh ]

  1. a dense growth of bushes, shrubs, etc.; scrub; thicket.

  2. a pile or covering of lopped or broken branches; brushwood.

  1. bushes and low trees growing in thick profusion, especially close to the ground.

  2. Also called brushland . land or an area covered with thickly growing bushes and low trees.

  3. backwoods; a sparsely settled wooded region.

Origin of brush

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English brushe, bro(c)che “brushwood, thicket”; from Middle French broisse, Old French broce “underbrush” (compare Anglo-French brousson “wood,” brusseie “heath”), perhaps from unattested Vulgar Latin bruscia “excrescences,” derivative of Latin bruscum “knot or excrescence on a maple tree”; cf. brush1

Other words from brush

  • brush·i·ness, noun

Other definitions for Brush (3 of 3)

[ bruhsh ]

  1. Katharine, 1902–52, U.S. novelist and short-story writer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use brush in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for brush (1 of 2)


/ (brʌʃ) /

  1. a device made of bristles, hairs, wires, etc, set into a firm back or handle: used to apply paint, clean or polish surfaces, groom the hair, etc

  2. the act or an instance of brushing

  1. a light stroke made in passing; graze

  2. a brief encounter or contact, esp an unfriendly one; skirmish

  3. the bushy tail of a fox, often kept as a trophy after a hunt, or of certain breeds of dog

  4. an electric conductor, esp one made of carbon, that conveys current between stationary and rotating parts of a generator, motor, etc

  5. a dark brush-shaped region observed when a biaxial crystal is viewed through a microscope, caused by interference between beams of polarized light

  1. (tr) to clean, polish, scrub, paint, etc, with a brush

  2. (tr) to apply or remove with a brush or brushing movement: brush the crumbs off the table

  1. (tr) to touch lightly and briefly

  2. (intr) to move so as to graze or touch something lightly

Origin of brush

C14: from Old French broisse, perhaps from broce brush ²

Derived forms of brush

  • brusher, noun
  • brushlike, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for brush (2 of 2)


/ (brʌʃ) /

  1. a thick growth of shrubs and small trees; scrub

  2. land covered with scrub

  1. broken or cut branches or twigs; brushwood

  2. wooded sparsely populated country; backwoods

Origin of brush

C16 (dense undergrowth), C14 (cuttings of trees): from Old French broce, from Vulgar Latin bruscia (unattested) brushwood

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with brush


In addition to the idioms beginning with brush

  • brush aside
  • brush off
  • brush up

also see:

  • give someone the air (brush off)
  • have a brush with
  • tarred with the same brush

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