[ broot-l ]
/ ˈbrut l /


savage; cruel; inhuman: a brutal attack on the village.
crude; coarse: brutal language.
harsh; ferocious: brutal criticism; brutal weather.
taxing, demanding, or exhausting: They're having a brutal time making ends meet.
irrational; unreasoning.
of or relating to lower animals.

Nearby words

  1. brussels lace,
  2. brussels sprout,
  3. brussels sprouts,
  4. brussen,
  5. brut,
  6. brutalise,
  7. brutalism,
  8. brutality,
  9. brutalize,
  10. brutally

Origin of brutal

1425–75; late Middle English (< Middle French) < Medieval Latin brūtālis. See brute1, -al1

Related forms

Synonym study

1. See cruel. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brutal

British Dictionary definitions for brutal


/ (ˈbruːtəl) /


cruel; vicious; savage
extremely honest or coarse in speech or manner
harsh; severe; extremebrutal cold
Derived Formsbrutality, nounbrutally, adverb

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 brutal



mid-15c., in reference to the nature of animals, from Latin brutus (see brute (adj.)) + -al (1). Of persons, "fierce," 1640s. Related: Brutally.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper