Origin of brute

1375–1425; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin brūtus heavy, devoid of feeling, irrational
Related formsbrute·like, adjectivebrute·ly, adverbbrute·ness, noun

Synonym study

1. See animal.



verb (used with object), brut·ed, brut·ing.

to shape (a diamond) by rubbing with another diamond or a diamond chip.

Origin of brute

back formation from bruting a rough hewing (of a diamond), partial translation of French brutage literally, a roughing, equivalent to brut rough, raw (see brute1) + -age -age

et tu, Brute

[et too broo-tey]


and thou, Brutus!: alleged dying words of Julius Caesar uttered as his friend Brutus stabbed him. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brute

Contemporary Examples of brute

Historical Examples of brute

  • The very drunk have the intuition sometimes of savages or brute beasts.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • I believe every man's a brute when the woman he loves defies him.

  • That brute of a Bouquet came spying about my castle, and I did but defend myself.

  • From brute beasts you have restored us to the condition of men again.

    Tanglewood Tales

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • But hunting does not make one wholly a brute, crying, 'Kill, kill!'

    A Woman Tenderfoot

    Grace Gallatin Seton-Thompson

British Dictionary definitions for brute



  1. any animal except man; beast; lower animal
  2. (as modifier)brute nature
a brutal person

adjective (prenominal)

wholly instinctive or physical (esp in the phrases brute strength, brute force)
without reason or intelligence
coarse and grossly sensual

Word Origin for brute

C15: from Latin brūtus heavy, irrational; related to gravis heavy
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 brute

early 15c., "of or belonging to animals," from Middle French brut "coarse, brutal, raw, crude," from Latin brutus "heavy, dull, stupid," an Oscan word, from PIE root *gwere- "heavy" (see grave (adj.)). Before reaching English the meaning expanded to "of the lower animals." Used of human beings from 1530s.


1610s, from brute (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper