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[broom, broo m] /brum, brʊm/
an implement for sweeping, consisting of a brush of straw or stiff strands of synthetic material bound tightly to the end of a long handle.
any shrubby plant belonging to the genus Genista or the genus Cytisus, of the legume family, especially C. scoparius, common in Western Europe on uncultivated ground and having long, slender branches bearing yellow flowers.
Building Trades. the crushed and spread part at the head of a wooden pile after driving.
verb (used with object)
to sweep:
Broom the porch.
to splinter or fray mechanically.
to crush and spread the top of (a piling, tent peg, etc.) by pounding or driving with a hammer or the like.
to brush (freshly poured concrete) with a broom to give a nonskid surface, as to walks or driveways.
verb (used without object)
(of a piling, tent peg, etc.) to be crushed and spread at the top from being driven.
Origin of broom
before 1000; Middle English brome, Old English brōm; cognate with Dutch braam bramble, German Bram broom
Pronunciation note
Broom and room occur with the vowel [oo] /u/ (Show IPA) of fool or [oo] /ʊ/ of book. The first is the more common. The pronunciation with the [oo] /ʊ/ of book is found in New England, eastern Virginia, and South Carolina and Georgia alongside the [oo] /u/ pronunciation. Farther west the [oo] /u/ pronunciation is more common, though the pronunciation with the vowel of book occurs everywhere with no marked regional or social pattern. Both pronunciations occur in British standard and folk speech. The pronunciation with [oo] /ʊ/ predominates in the eastern counties, [oo] /u/ everywhere else. London lies on the boundary between the two types, and it is thus not surprising that [oo] /ʊ/ is found in the United States in the coastal areas that had long and close contact with England. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for broom
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If I'd broken my broom over her back I wouldn't a cared so much.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
  • He has all his housework there, a broom and a duster, and I dare say he has a cooking-stove and a gridiron.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • She stopped suddenly and leaned on her broom, her face very serious.

    Red-Robin Jane Abbott
  • When accidentally struck by the janitor's broom, he gives off a cloud of dust.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • I told the ranger about chasing the old beast around with a broom.

    I Married a Ranger Dama Margaret Smith
British Dictionary definitions for broom


/bruːm; brʊm/
an implement for sweeping consisting of a long handle to which is attached either a brush of straw, bristles, or twigs, bound together, or a solid head into which are set tufts of bristles or fibres
any of various yellow-flowered Eurasian leguminous shrubs of the genera Cytisus, Genista, and Spartium, esp C. scoparius
any of various similar Eurasian plants of the related genera Genista and Spartium
new broom, a newly appointed official, etc, eager to make changes
(transitive) to sweep with a broom
Word Origin
Old English brōm; related to Old High German brāmo, Middle Dutch bremme
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
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Word Origin and History for broom

Old English brom "broom, brushwood," the common flowering shrub whose twigs were tied together to make a tool for sweeping, from Proto-Germanic *bræmaz "thorny bush" (cf. Dutch braam, German Brombeere "blackberry"), from PIE root *bh(e)rem- "to project, a point."

Traditionally, both the flowers and sweeping with broom twigs were considered unlucky in May (Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire, etc.). The witch's flying broomstick originally was one among many such objects (pitchfork, trough, bowl), but the broomstick became fixed as the popular tool of supernatural flight via engravings from a famous Lancashire witch trial of 1612.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for broom



To run or walk away, esp to escape by running (1800s+)

Related Terms

have a broom up one's ass

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with broom
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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