Definition of brutalize in English:


(also brutalise)


  • 1Make (someone) cruel, violent, or insensitive to the pain of others by repeated exposure to violence.

    ‘he had been brutalized in prison and become cynical’
    ‘the brutalizing effects of warfare’
    • ‘In my experience violence and intimidation are the exact tools used routinely to dehumanise and brutalise any individual unfortunate enough to be in the army.’
    • ‘Despite evidence from psychologists that repeated viewing of rapes and physical attacks can brutalise young teenagers, McGregor insisted violent scenes deterred rather than encouraged.’
    • ‘But it is also clear that the use of torture was brutalising individual soldiers, as had so often happened in history.’
    • ‘Just as cruelty to animals on an individual level brutalises and desensitises, cruelty on an institutional level must similarly damage our collective psyche.’
    • ‘This would cut crime and heal the lives of some of the most abused and brutalised people in our society.’
    • ‘This explains in part why slaves were often brutalized by the callous administration of cruel punishments.’
    • ‘Another archbishop believes the government ‘is destroying our international reputation, brutalising the nation's attitudes and making us a less compassionate people’.’
    • ‘And to those who spoke, as many do today, of the naturalness of war, Gandhi's reply, first expressed in 1909, was that war brutalises men of naturally gentle character and that its path of glory is red with the blood of murder.’
    • ‘This was a savage, brutalised society, held together by fear and sadism.’
    • ‘The fact that nonviolent people are brutalized and destroyed for life in prisons is met with a shrug.’
    • ‘It does have an impact and has helped brutalize and degrade American life.’
    • ‘War has brutalized our families in the same way it haunted and destroyed our homes and streets.’
    • ‘Penologists and medical experts agree that the process of carrying out a verdict of death is often so degrading and brutalizing to the human spirit as to constitute psychological torture.’
    • ‘I think violence really marginalizes and brutalizes women.’
    • ‘It is brutal and inhuman and those that find themselves in one are going to be brutalised and to some extent de-humanised.’
    desensitize, dehumanize, harden, toughen, case-harden, inure, make unfeeling, make callous, degrade
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Treat (someone) in a savage and violent way.
      ‘they brutalize and torture persons in their custody’
      • ‘He was beaten, tortured and brutalised, suffering over 50 injuries including a fractured jaw.’
      • ‘What on earth is the world coming to when ‘minding their own business’ was not enough to prevent two men being brutalised and almost killed by a group of people they'd never met?’
      • ‘Slavery was full of examples of those in charge-the planter, overseer, or driver-doing violence to and brutalizing someone weaker or more vulnerable.’
      • ‘In different forms, they could be pictures of the Dutch brutalizing the Indonesians; the French brutalizing the Algerians; the Belgians brutalizing the people of the Congo.’
      • ‘Where were they when he was being tortured and brutalized?’
      • ‘She was a young woman, quite a happy woman, but in order to save herself during the war she stepped out of the crowd of inmates in order to brutalise her co-sufferers and this was already her way of degrading herself, of condemning herself.’
      • ‘Far from providing respect for and a defence of their community, their actions degrade and brutalise them.’
      • ‘We further demand that our Police Force cease both brutalizing us and in any way abusing their authority over us.’
      • ‘So, I say; thank you for defending those who were unable to defend themselves and for tearing down a government which brutalized women, children, and anyone who did not believe as they did.’
      • ‘An elderly couple were brutalised and beaten in a seven-hour ordeal this week by an intruder who burst into their home on Monday afternoon.’
      • ‘When all around his friends were being brutalized, dehumanized, and exterminated with ruthlessly systematic purpose, the ‘communion of subjects’ came to seem to him more rare and precious.’
      • ‘As I reached the door I saw my roommate on the ground, and saw him being brutalized and thrown around by the bouncers, so I stormed in.’
      • ‘They promised not to harm them, not to torture or brutalize them with taser guns.’
      • ‘I am sure Mr. Smith grieves for the murdered Soviet soldiers, the brutalized Chinese, the tortured Americans, but like the rest of us he can only focus on one horror at a time.’
      • ‘The military has been put on notice that if it rides roughshod over people in the provinces, killing indiscriminately plus torturing and brutalizing innocent civilians, it can expect to face the consequences.’
      • ‘Even though he informs them from his shabby desk that they are looking at God, these hardened thugs brutalize him anyway.’
      • ‘Having seen people tortured and brutalized, Newton possesses a certainty about death that is neither abstract nor vague.’
      • ‘Hundreds of thousands of his people were murdered or tortured at his order and some may have been brutalized by his own hands.’
      • ‘According to the victim, the five homeless immigrants who beat and brutalized her carried out their attack like ‘a pack of wild wolves in search of their prey.’’
      • ‘But over the years, this former heavyweight champion went from mauling other fighters to brutalizing people far removed from the boxing ring.’
      attack, abuse, assault, beat, thrash, thump, pummel, pound, batter
      View synonyms