brush off

Idioms & Phrases

brush off

Dismiss or rebuff, as in Roberta brushed off the poor reviews with a shrug, or You can't brush off a boyfriend and expect him to do you a favor. This expression, transferring sweeping off crumbs to a curt dismissal, was first recorded about 1820. However, it became common usage only in the 1930s. Also see give someone the air (brush off).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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