Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


1. An animal other than a human; a beast.
2. A brutal, crude, or insensitive person.
1. Of or relating to animals other than humans: "None of the brute creation requires more than food and shelter" (Henry David Thoreau).
2. Characteristic of a brute, especially:
a. Entirely physical: brute force.
b. Lacking or showing a lack of reason or intelligence: a brute impulse.
c. Savage; cruel: brute coercion.
d. Unremittingly severe: was driven to steal food through brute necessity.
3. Coarse; brutish.

[From Middle English, nonhuman, from Old French brut, from Latin brūtus, stupid; see gwerə- in Indo-European roots.]

brut′ism n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the characteristic actions of a brute
2. the state of being a brute
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


the set of attributes that characterize a brute. — brutish, adj.
See also: Behavior
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Set beside such passion, Crafts's depictions of her violent, dark-skinned African Americans, characterised by their failure to speak (other than in "highly improper and indecent language") and the sexual threat one of them poses, create an image of inarticulate, sexually-driven brutism that only the most charitable of readings can regard as solely caused by environmental deprivation, as Hannah retreats from the cabin in distress: "Frightened, and anxious to escape such a scene I ...
We were also reacting against the pyrotechnics of avant-garde theater and the brutism of performance art.