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[bruhsh] /brʌʃ/
an implement consisting of bristles, hair, or the like, set in or attached to a handle, used for painting, cleaning, polishing, grooming, etc.
one of a pair of devices consisting of long, thin handles with wire bristles attached, used in jazz or dance bands for keeping a soft, rhythmic beat on the trap drums or the cymbals.
the bushy tail of an animal, especially of a fox.
  1. a conductor, often made of carbon or copper or a combination of the two, serving to maintain electric contact between stationary and moving parts of a machine, generator, or other apparatus.
  2. brush discharge.
a feathery or hairy tuft or tassel, as on the tip of a kernel of grain or on a man's hat.
an act or instance of brushing; application of a brush.
a light, stroking touch.
a brief encounter:
He has already had one brush with the law.
a close approach, especially to something undesirable or harmful:
a brush with disaster.
verb (used with object)
to sweep, paint, clean, polish, etc., with a brush.
to touch lightly in passing; pass lightly over:
His lips brushed her ear.
to remove by brushing or by lightly passing over:
His hand brushed a speck of lint from his coat.
verb (used without object)
to move or skim with a slight contact.
Verb phrases
brush aside, to disregard; ignore:
Our complaints were simply brushed aside.
brush off, to rebuff; send away:
She had never been brushed off so rudely before.
brush up on, to revive, review, or resume (studies, a skill, etc.):
She's thinking of brushing up on her tennis.
Also, brush up.
get the brush, to be rejected or rebuffed:
She greeted Jim effusively, but I got the brush.
give the brush, to ignore, rebuff, etc.:
If you're still angry with him, give him the brush.
Origin of brush1
1350-1400; (noun) Middle English brusshe, probably to be identified with brush2, if orig. sense was implement made from twigs, etc., culled from brushwood; (v.) Middle English brushen to hasten, rush, probably < Old French brosser to travel (through brush), verbal derivative of broce (see brush2)
Related forms
brushable, adjective
brusher, noun
brushlike, adjective
unbrushable, adjective
8. engagement, action, skirmish. See struggle. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for brushing aside
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "That could be arranged, I have no doubt," said the Superintendent, brushing aside that difficulty with a wave of the hand.

    The Doctor Ralph Connor
  • Kinton ran at the Tepoktans, brushing aside the concerned Klaft.

    Exile Horace Brown Fyfe
  • He feared himself, that man who could act on a passionate impulse, brushing aside all the restraints that his reason would oppose.

    The Way of Ambition Robert Hichens
  • She looked up apprehensively, brushing aside these thoughts with annoyance.

    Night and Day Virginia Woolf
  • "Mrs. Dallow will send for you—vous allez voir ça," he said in a moment, brushing aside all vagueness.

    The Tragic Muse Henry James
  • He had this irritating way of brushing aside generalization and forcing the speaker to get back to first principles.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • He nodded, and, brushing aside the trees, we sprang out upon the astonished fellows.

  • He elbowed his way through the crowds, deaf to all congratulations, brushing aside the hands that were proferred to him.

    The Torrent Vicente Blasco Ibaez
  • brushing aside a low-hanging palm leaf, the girl seized her paddle to send the light craft forward.

    The Red Lure Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for brushing aside


a device made of bristles, hairs, wires, etc, set into a firm back or handle: used to apply paint, clean or polish surfaces, groom the hair, etc
the act or an instance of brushing
a light stroke made in passing; graze
a brief encounter or contact, esp an unfriendly one; skirmish
the bushy tail of a fox, often kept as a trophy after a hunt, or of certain breeds of dog
an electric conductor, esp one made of carbon, that conveys current between stationary and rotating parts of a generator, motor, etc
a dark brush-shaped region observed when a biaxial crystal is viewed through a microscope, caused by interference between beams of polarized light
(transitive) to clean, polish, scrub, paint, etc, with a brush
(transitive) to apply or remove with a brush or brushing movement: brush the crumbs off the table
(transitive) to touch lightly and briefly
(intransitive) to move so as to graze or touch something lightly
Derived Forms
brusher, noun
brushlike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French broisse, perhaps from brocebrush²


a thick growth of shrubs and small trees; scrub
land covered with scrub
broken or cut branches or twigs; brushwood
wooded sparsely populated country; backwoods
Word Origin
C16 (dense undergrowth), C14 (cuttings of trees): from Old French broce, from Vulgar Latin bruscia (unattested) brushwood
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 brushing aside



"dust-sweeper, a brush for sweeping," late 14c., also, c.1400, "brushwood, brushes;" from Old French broisse (Modern French brosse) "a brush" (13c.), perhaps from Vulgar Latin *bruscia "a bunch of new shoots" (used to sweep away dust), perhaps from Proto-Germanic *bruskaz "underbrush."

"shrubbery," early 14c., from Anglo-French bruce "brushwood," Old North French broche, Old French broce "bush, thicket, undergrowth" (12c., Modern French brosse), from Gallo-Romance *brocia, perhaps from *brucus "heather," or possibly from the same source as brush (n.1).


late 15c., "to clean or rub (clothing) with a brush," also (mid-15c.) "to beat with a brush," from brush (n.1). Related: Brushed; brushing. To brush off someone or something, "rebuff, dismiss," is from 1941.

"move briskly" especially past or against something or someone, 1670s, from earlier sense (c.1400) "to hasten, rush," probably from brush (n.2), on the notion of a horse, etc., passing through dense undergrowth (cf. Old French brosser "travel (through woods)," and Middle English noun brush "charge, onslaught, encounter," mid-14c.), but brush (n.1) probably has contributed something to it as well. Related: Brushed; brushing.

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



  1. A mustache (1820s+)
  2. A fight; squabble; disagreement: have had drug or alcohol problems, and have experienced a ''brush with the law'' (1840s+)
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 brushing aside
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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