Definition of broad-brush in English:



  • Lacking in detail and subtlety.

    ‘a broad-brush measure of inflation’
    • ‘What is more, this book starts to evolve into a broad-brush indictment of the New Zealand medical system, or perhaps of the working environment in general and how it is set against women.’
    • ‘And following this broad-brush condemnation of the police in Waterloo Region, the learned judge finds that there was a violation of the Respondent's right not to be arbitrarily detained.’
    • ‘Mr McGuinness (who said he had been out with his wife shopping for a bathroom carpet) is, like Mr Blair, a skilful, broad-brush populist with Mandela dreams.’
    • ‘Dido's White Flag may have sold millions with its anodyne, broad-brush break-up lyrics, but Williamson's eponymous second album goes much deeper into more raw feelings.’
    • ‘I shall offer a set of very brief empirical sketches of three of the better-documented peasant societies of early medieval Europe, without any pretension to completeness, before offering some broad-brush generalizations.’
    • ‘The problems arguably reflect broader structural changes in political economy and culture, often referred to in a broad-brush way as ‘globalization’, which limit the scope of action of governments.’
    • ‘However, simple, broad-brush reforms can be the best reforms.’
    • ‘Last Thursday, in a speech to the Corporate Council on Africa, Bush outlined a broad-brush agenda on Africa, including an end to Congo's war.’
    • ‘It was hoped that using a detailed mathematical formula based on social security rates would enable a more precise calculation of the child's actual needs than the broad-brush attempts at awarding maintenance used by the courts.’
    • ‘Over the next 18 months both local authorities and individual schools are expected to formulate development plans to turn these well-meaning but broad-brush priorities into meaningful curricular content.’
    • ‘My Lord, given the results of a fairly complicated costs order, what the first and second respondents submit is a fair and just broad-brush result would be that there be no order for costs.’
    • ‘If it wasn't for his self-aggrandising tendencies (and his unpleasant, reductive stereotypes) he would probably just be accepted as a bracing broad-brush satirist, a set-piece artist with a terrific ear.’
    • ‘Its brief is to establish a broad-brush strategy for facilitating a multi-tasking agency partnership which will action a regulatory framework for change.’
    • ‘The prison governors’ call for the removal of the right of magistrates to impose prison sentences may be too much of a broad-brush reaction to a pressing problem.’
    • ‘Here, again, Scotland is an ideal pioneering venue because DNA is best suited to broad-brush research, what might perhaps be termed macro-genealogy, and the Scottish clan system is more suited to that than any nuclear family.’
    • ‘The key problem with the five portions rule is that it is based on very broad-brush science.’
    • ‘The Bacon reports introduced broad-brush measures designed to dampen demand, most notably the restriction of interest relief for investors.’
    • ‘As always in Asia, the broad-brush picture hides many fine details.’
    • ‘If not, you're likely to find its broad-brush caricaturing as facile and offensive as I did.’
    • ‘Frears' film has been criticised as being too broad-brush.’
    lacking in detail, incomplete, outline, inadequate, insufficient, fragmentary, sketchy, patchy, bitty, scrappy, broad-brush, superficial, perfunctory
    View synonyms


  • An approach characterized by a lack of detail or subtlety.

    ‘it's obvious the Democrats and Republicans paint each other with a broad brush’
    • ‘O'Brien paints American Muslims with a broad brush.’
    • ‘The NY Times wields a broad brush and paints the NBA coaches black and white.’
    • ‘The first step can be labeled a broad-brush approach in order to separate it from later steps.’