Pronunciation Adjective


  1. Without reason or intelligence (of animals). [from 15th c.]
    a brute beast
  2. Characteristic of unthinking animals; senseless, unreasoning (of humans). [from 16th c.]
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book VII”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗:
      A creature […] not prone / And brute as other creatures, but endued / With sanctity of reason.
  3. Being unconnected with intelligence or thought; purely material, senseless. [from 16th c.]
    the brute earth; the brute powers of nature
  4. Crude, unpolished. [from 17th c.]
    • 1815 February 23, [Walter Scott], Guy Mannering; or, The Astrologer. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, […]; and Archibald Constable and Co., […], OCLC 742335644 ↗:
  5. Strong, blunt, and spontaneous.
    I punched him with brute force.
  6. Brutal; cruel; fierce; ferocious; savage; pitiless.
    brute violence
Translations Translations Translations Noun

brute (plural brutes)

  1. (archaic) An animal seen as being without human reason; a senseless beast. [from 17th c.]
    • 1714, Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of the Bees:
      they laid before them how unbecoming it was the Dignity of such sublime Creatures to be sollicitous about gratifying those Appetites, which they had in common with Brutes, and at the same time unmindful of those higher qualities that gave them the preeminence over all visible Beings.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.17:
      But if he lives badly, he will, in the next life, be a woman; if he (or she) persists in evil-doing, he (or she) will become a brute, and go on through transmigrations until at last reason conquers.
  2. A person with the characteristics of an unthinking animal; a coarse or brutal person. [from 17th c.]
    One of them was a hulking brute of a man, heavily tattooed and with a hardened face that practically screamed "I just got out of jail."
    • 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter III, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384 ↗:
      She was frankly disappointed. For some reason she had thought to discover a burglar of one or another accepted type—either a dashing cracksman in full-blown evening dress, lithe, polished, pantherish, or a common yegg, a red-eyed, unshaven burly brute in the rags and tatters of a tramp.
  3. (archaic, UK, Cambridge University slang) One who has not yet matriculated.
Translations Translations Verb

brute (brutes, present participle bruting; past and past participle bruted)

  1. (transitive) To shape (diamonds) by grinding them against each other.

brute (brutes, present participle bruting; past and past participle bruted)

  1. Obsolete spelling of bruit#English|bruit

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