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[broo-ding] /ˈbru dɪŋ/
preoccupied with depressing, morbid, or painful memories or thoughts:
a brooding frame of mind.
cast in subdued light so as to convey a somewhat threatening atmosphere:
Dusk fell on the brooding hills.
Origin of brooding
1810-20 for def 1; 1640-50 for def 2; brood + -ing2
Related forms
broodingly, adverb
nonbrooding, adjective, noun
unbrooding, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for broodingly
Historical Examples
  • "Yet you know very well, at this moment, that I must leave you," she said broodingly.

    The Eddy Clarence L. Cullen
  • And yet, Herr Koulas reasoned, broodingly, that there must be one.

    The Secret Witness George Gibbs
  • "It's all very well to say that in public life money isn't as necessary as it used to be," her ladyship went on broodingly.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • The man—it was impossible to tell if he were old or young—looked at them broodingly.

    The Metal Moon Everett C. Smith
  • In the dusk the wistfulness which hid behind a smile in daylight looked forth fully and broodingly.

    The Woman from Outside Hulbert Footner
  • I took up the mirror again and broodingly studied the face there.

    The Planet Savers Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • "Mr. Carter stalked in upon us, at dinner--" his wife said, broodingly.

    Harriet and the Piper Kathleen Norris
  • The Watcher was broodingly silent; his eyes shifted to Neena, where she nestled by Var's side.

    When the Mountain Shook Robert Abernathy
  • Her beautiful head was bent a little, broodingly, and her splendid face seemed to look down at life.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • Henry remained for a minute, broodingly watching the neat receding back of Charles Wilbraham.

    Mystery at Geneva Rose Macaulay
Word Origin and History for broodingly



1640s, "hovering, overhanging" (as a mother bird does her nest), from present participle of brood (v.); meaning "that dwells moodily" first attested 1818 (in "Frankenstein").


"action of incubating," c.1400, verbal noun from brood (v.). Figuratively (of weather, etc.) from 1805; of mental fixations by 1873. Related: Broodingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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