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.


1. the characteristic actions of a brute
2. the state of being a brute


the set of attributes that characterize a brute. — brutish, adj.
See also: Behavior
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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.