Two kinds of brushes.


From Middle English brusshe, from Old French broisse (Modern French brosse), from Vulgar Latin *brustia, from Frankish *bursti, from Proto-Germanic *burstiz (bristle), or also Vulgar Latin *bruscia, from Proto-Germanic *bruskaz (tuft, thicket, underbrush), which could be from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrusgo-.[1]


  • enPR: brŭsh, IPA(key): /bɹʌʃ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌʃ


brush (countable and uncountable, plural brushes)

  1. An implement consisting of multiple more or less flexible bristles or other filaments attached to a handle, used for any of various purposes including cleaning, painting, and arranging hair.
  2. The act of brushing something.
    She gave her hair a quick brush.
  3. A piece of conductive material, usually carbon, serving to maintain electrical contact between the stationary and rotating parts of a machine.
  4. A brush-like electrical discharge of sparks.
    Synonym: corposant
    • 2001, Oliver Sacks, Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood:
      If there was a sharp point nearby, electricity would stream from it in a luminous brush, a little corposant, and one could blow out candles with the outstreaming “electric wind,” or even get this to turn a little rotor on its pivot.
  5. (uncountable) Wild vegetation, generally larger than grass but smaller than trees. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrubland
    • 1906, Jack London, Before Adam, chapter 12:
      We broke away toward the north, the tribe howling on our track. Across the open spaces we gained, and in the brush they caught up with us, and more than once it was nip and tuck.
    • 2006, Edwin Black, chapter 2, in Internal Combustion:
      One typical Grecian kiln engorged one thousand muleloads of juniper wood in a single burn. Fifty such kilns would devour six thousand metric tons of trees and brush annually.
  6. A short and sometimes occasional encounter or experience.
    He has had brushes with communism from time to time.
    • 2013, Russell Brand, Russell Brand and the GQ awards: 'It's amazing how absurd it seems', The Guardian, 13 September:
      The usual visual grammar was in place – a carpet in the street, people in paddocks awaiting a brush with something glamorous, blokes with earpieces, birds in frocks of colliding colours that if sighted in nature would indicate the presence of poison.
  7. The furry tail of an animal, especially of a fox.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., [], OCLC 752825175:
      They burned the old gun that used to stand in the dark corner up in the garret, close to the stuffed fox that always grinned so fiercely. Perhaps the reason why he seemed in such a ghastly rage was that he did not come by his death fairly. Otherwise his pelt would not have been so perfect. And why else was he put away up there out of sight?—and so magnificent a brush as he had too.
  8. (zoology) A tuft of hair on the mandibles.
  9. (archaic) A short contest, or trial, of speed.
    • 1860, Anthony Trollope, Framley Parsonage (originally published in Cornhill Magazine
      Mark and Lord Lufton had been boys together, and his lordship knew that Mark in his heart would enjoy a brush across the country quite as well as he himself.
  10. (music) An instrument, resembling a brush, used to produce a soft sound from drums or cymbals.
  11. (computer graphics) An on-screen tool for "painting" a particular colour or texture.
    • 2007, Lee Lanier, Maya Professional Tips and Techniques, page 12:
      Your bitmap image appears along the painted stroke. If you'd like to permanently create a custom sprite brush, it's fairly easy to adapt an existing MEL file [].
  12. (computer graphics) A set of defined design and parameters that produce drawn strokes of a certain texture and quality.
    Coordinate term: texture
    downloading brushes for Photoshop
  13. (video games) In 3D video games, a convex polyhedron, especially one that defines structure of the play area.
  14. (poker, slang) The floorperson of a poker room, usually in a casino.
  15. (North Wisconsin, uncountable) Evergreen boughs, especially balsam, locally cut and baled for export, usually for use in making wreaths.



brush (third-person singular simple present brushes, present participle brushing, simple past and past participle brushed)

  1. (transitive) To clean with a brush.
    Brush your teeth.
  2. (transitive) To untangle or arrange with a brush.
    Brush your hair.
  3. (transitive) To apply with a brush.
    I am brushing the paint onto the walls.
  4. (transitive) To remove with a sweeping motion.
    'She brushes the flour off your clothes.
  5. (transitive, intransitive) To touch with a sweeping motion, or lightly in passing.
    Her scarf brushed his skin.
  6. (intransitive) To clean one's teeth by brushing them.
    • 2000, USA Today (volume 129, issues 2662-2673, page 92)
      Of course, Halloween does not have to be completely treatless. Plain chocolate candy is okay, provided you remember to brush afterwards.

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kroonen, Guus (2013), “bruska”, in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 11), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 80


Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of broche