Definition of brown in US English:



  • 1Of a color produced by mixing red, yellow, and blue, as of dark wood or rich soil.

    ‘an old brown coat’
    ‘she had warm brown eyes’
    • ‘Nick's soup was a rich brown colour and had a full-bodied mushroom flavour.’
    • ‘It was accented with rich brown wood that was used as shelving, chairs and a spa bed.’
    • ‘Nobody ever made a more straight drill or ploughed a field with such precision and he was at his happiest as he turned the rich brown soil followed by a flock of hungry gulls.’
    • ‘Golden yellow and rich brown hues accompany fresh floral accents and ruggedly attractive iron light fixtures.’
    • ‘With his blue eyes and dark brown hair, he was every girl's dream.’
    • ‘He was won over in two bites of non-greasy, tender chunks of meat nestled in a rich dark brown curry sauce.’
    • ‘He had a slight muscular build, which was covered by a dark blue winter coat with brown leather patches on the elbows.’
    • ‘The girl blinked, looking at the 19 year old with shoulder length dark blue hair and dark brown eyes.’
    • ‘Jess, everyone called him, was tall with short straight, dark brown hair and blue eyes devoid of any emotion.’
    • ‘Ilaria was no longer a blue lush world but a dark yellow and brown wasteland.’
    • ‘Everything in the department stores was brown and dark blue.’
    • ‘It consisted of three stuffed potato patties that had been coated in a slightly crunchy and tasty breading, and fried to a dark brown colour.’
    • ‘When the meat is a nice, dark brown colour and has been set aside, add the onions to the pot.’
    • ‘The guy was grinning and had dark brown curls and ice blue eyes.’
    • ‘The décor was navy blue, gold and dark brown wood, and the place almost looked like the inside of a ship.’
    • ‘He was clean-shaven, and I knew I'd got my dark brown eye colour from him.’
    • ‘He sends you up a very nice pudding, symmetrical in design, of a good consistency, and of a rich brown colour.’
    • ‘The dark brown furniture and yellow light coming from the engraved copper lamp created a cozy ambience.’
    • ‘Everything about it - the taste, the rich dark brown colour, the scent - was wonderful.’
    • ‘Now awake and in charge of the day, he longed to be off, striding across the rich brown soil, out into the world, to explore.’
    hazel, chocolate-coloured, coffee-coloured, cocoa-coloured, nut-brown
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    1. 1.1 (of bread) light brown in color and typically made with unbleached or unrefined wholewheat flour.
      • ‘Ann ordered a local free-range egg and cress sandwich in a soft brown roll, with side salad.’
      • ‘They let me out after a week because I told the doctor I'd managed to eat a piece of dry brown toast.’
      • ‘I went in and offered my French francs, which the baker accepted and he handed me a small brown loaf.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the large, strongly-flavoured brown breadcrumbs overwhelmed the oysters.’
      • ‘He then asked if I needed milk and gave me a litre and a brown loaf.’
      • ‘I opted for a ham and tomato brown baguette.’
      • ‘I start with porridge, and then mid-morning I have six egg whites on brown toast.’
      • ‘My breakfast is always the same: two pieces of brown toast with slices of banana on top, a cup of tea and an apple juice.’
      • ‘All I ask for to see me through the day is a nice piece of ripe brie, a crusty brown roll and a glass or two of a not-too-dry white.’
      • ‘Eaten with home-made Branston-style pickle and an abundant supply of delightful olive, nut and fociaccia bread plus crunchy brown rolls, this got the gastric juices flowing.’
      • ‘Meanwhile the other salesperson was tossing the brown loaves into a slicing machine as fast as he could.’
      • ‘If you slip away from the main tourist scene, you'll likely stumble upon a bakery offering freshly baked brown loaves from 200-year-old recipes.’
      unbleached, wholemeal
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  • 2(of a person) dark-skinned or suntanned.

    ‘his face was brown from the sun’
    • ‘And I think I can forget about getting a suntan, I'll probably come back with a brown face, that's all.’
    • ‘The sun just made her brown skin glow even more clearly, making me jealous as hell.’
    • ‘He was tall with longish black hair swept out of his eyes, and sun tanned brown skin.’
    • ‘Her half-long hair was bleached by the sun and salt, making her skin appear almost brown by contrast.’
    • ‘I was here in Toronto for like four hours and my light brown skin had that sun kissed look.’
    tanned, suntanned, perma-tanned, sunburned, browned, bronze, bronzed, weather-beaten
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    1. 2.1also Brown Relating or belonging to a human group characterized as having relatively dark-colored skin (chiefly used of peoples of ancestry other than European or African)
      ‘I interviewed 60 mostly black and brown leaders around our nation’


  • 1Brown color or pigment.

    ‘the brown of his eyes’
    ‘a pair of boots in brown’
    ‘the print is rich with velvety browns’
    • ‘There are three colours available: brown, whitish yellow and honey whitish yellow being the natural colour of the wood.’
    • ‘Increased glucose conditions are shown in brown, whereas decreased glucose is shown in blue.’
    • ‘I still however have a thing for plasticine, those long lengths of the stuff in various uninspirational colours like green and brown.’
    • ‘The overriding colours are natural hues of tan, brown and olive greens contrasted with a bright white base, to give a soft, earthy look.’
    • ‘Yeldham is fond of red, a popular colour for paintings, and also of brown, another colour that fits in nicely with interior design schemas.’
    • ‘I feel light brown is the natural colour for you in the long-term.’
    • ‘The opposite trend is shown in brown, where residents tend to buy new, not used.’
    • ‘Donaldson is unapologetic about the symbolism of these colours: brown for the earth, blue for the sky.’
    • ‘The area of low-lying swamp or marsh, as revealed through archaeology, is shown in brown.’
    • ‘Neutral colours like brown, cream and black are practical choices for this sort of bag.’
    • ‘And a low cut waist accented with a wide belt in brown is most fashionable while it shows off your charming figure.’
    • ‘There is a heavy use of earthly colours of tree-bark brown and earth red in Aboriginal art as the Aborigines are deeply influenced by nature.’
    • ‘I like to tint the shellback using a waterproof marker in brown or olive.’
    • ‘Vertebrate genes are shown in brown, invertebrates in red, plants in green, and fungi in blue.’
    • ‘The rest of the party found it inspirational, but I don't like the colour brown - which is a bit of a problem in Morocco.’
    • ‘Soups and noodles came in colours such as brown, orange, light green, cream, yellow, white and brownish red.’
    • ‘Pendulous sedges crowded the footpath, fungi sprouted in brown, black, orange and white.’
    • ‘It starts off as a series of brush strokes in brown, red and green, but ends up as an exquisite painting imparting a beautiful luminosity.’
    • ‘Naila looked down to see she also wore a simple dress, but in brown.’
    • ‘All methods of aquatint are printed in the same manner as regular etching, but frequently aquatints were printed in brown as well as black.’
    1. 1.1 Brown clothes or material.
      ‘a woman all in brown’
      • ‘A group of roughly a hundred human men, dressed in greens, browns, and blacks, were standing of on the crest of a small hill, weapons in hand.’
      • ‘There she was, coming up the platform towards me at Runcorn, all in brown, with fluttering eyelashes.’
      • ‘A middle-aged woman in brown came running up to Fire and threw her arms over his neck.’
      • ‘The new guest was followed closely by a puny boy in puke - green and two heavy bumbling guys in brown.’
      • ‘He was dressed in brown, with a deep green cloak and hood, and his hands were gloved.’
      • ‘Supporters swathed in brown and gold formed a guard of honour in front of the banner.’
      • ‘She led a party of about six men towards an empty table, two of these also robed, but in brown, and the others in the attire of boatmen.’
      • ‘He saw Oprah sitting on her couch, dressed in brown and talking to the audience about a book called Age and Time.’
      • ‘The great buffet running the length of the hall stood out with all it's color against the various grays, browns, and blacks that the peasantry so commonly wore.’
      • ‘Alia asked, looking up to the man robed in brown, hood drawn back enough to see his face.’
      • ‘A figure cloaked in brown was huddled over two other, smaller ones.’
      • ‘This seems to be a regular feature; why they don't just do away with green and play in brown, the natural colour of the Borders in winter, remains a mystery.’
      • ‘She dressed all in brown and a tight bun, made her eyes stretch to the corners.’
      • ‘They seemed to be called away from whatever task they happened to be doing, dressed in drab blacks, browns, and blues.’
      • ‘Once there, he found a figure, cloaked in brown in the throne chair.’


  • Make or become brown, typically by cooking.

    with object ‘a skillet in which food has been browned’
    no object ‘bake the pizza until the cheese has browned’
    • ‘The smell when these are browning under the grill is amazing.’
    • ‘Stir the vegetables around in the juices, then put the tin back in the oven to finish browning and caramelising at the edges.’
    • ‘Combine in a frying pan with the olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds, capers, sea salt and pepper, and gently stew for 10 to 15 minutes, without actually ‘frying’ or browning.’
    • ‘A large piece of braising meat, usually beef but sometimes lamb or pork, is browned in olive oil in a heavy pot.’
    • ‘Spread out in pan and sauté over moderate heat for about four to five minutes, until bottom has crusted and browned.’
    • ‘Cover loosely with foil towards the end of baking to prevent the cake from browning.’
    • ‘Squash the mixture down with a palette knife and cook till the bottom has browned and crisped in the butter.’
    • ‘She tossed dough balls from hand to hand and placed them on a hot tin sheet over the fire where they browned in seconds.’
    • ‘Half an hour before kick-off melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan and add the onions, cooking them very gently for 10 minutes without browning.’
    • ‘We found fried eggs cooked too quickly and pancakes browned unevenly in the Specifics because the centre of the pan was hotter than the edges.’
    • ‘Once all sides of the roast have been browned, place the roast fat side up on a rack in the roasting pan.’
    • ‘Sprinkle with cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese has slightly browned.’
    • ‘Just browned a roast on both sides and stuck it in the crock pot with water and onion soup mix.’
    • ‘Now baste the turkey very thoroughly with a long-handled spoon, then return it to the oven for a further 30-45 minutes to finish browning - give it as much basting as you can during this final cooking period.’
    • ‘From time to time, push the spuds, particularly those that are browning quickly to one side, and spoon any cooking juices over any that appear dry.’
    • ‘If they appear stressed and browned by drought, most will rejuvenate after a good cut back and regular watering.’
    • ‘It is important not to crowd the pan, so the beef may need to be browned in 2 batches.’
    • ‘Zino recommends that salt be added after the patty has been browned because salt brings out the juices.’
    • ‘Cook over a gentle heat until the vegetables have softened but not browned.’
    • ‘Once the pork has browned and is close to being cooked, add the soy sauce and the juice of the lime and splash more sesame oil.’
    singe, sear, seal, crisp, crisp up
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  • (as) brown as a berry

    • (of a person) very suntanned.

      • ‘To play on the trampoline and go off to la playa and get brown as a berry.’
      • ‘A rugged little fellow of manly countenance, black-haired, and brown as a berry, was among the passengers of the steamship California who were transferred yesterday to Ellis Island.’
      • ‘In the words of Bruce Springsteen, we went down to the river, and into the river we dived, along with the au pair girl, who was by now as brown as a berry.’
      • ‘I am now as brown as a berry all in a short fortnight.’
      • ‘I am sure you will have the holiday of a lifetime and come back to the town looking brown as a berry.’
      • ‘With luck I'll be brown as a berry once more by the end of the summer.’
      • ‘He's brown as a berry from ridin' the prairie and sings with an ol' western drawl.’
  • do something up brown

    • Do something thoroughly or completely.

      as adjective ‘a real picnic, done up brown according to all the rules’
      • ‘Last week Le Soir of Paris happened to feel like giving the story a whirl and did it up brown with six pictures each of King Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson.’
      • ‘The leftists do it up brown because that's their métier, their profession, and they know how to make use of the TV cameras.’
      • ‘Well, now, Dewey thought he was going to do it up brown.’
      • ‘Those wanting to really do it up brown could have a closed-out, bargain-basement 100% RCA system for only $880-a real slap in the face for anyone who paid the full price of $1350.’
      • ‘Choreographer Michael E. Gold shows his creative style of playing up the strengths of each of his dancers and in an anything goes fashion, he did it up brown.’
      • ‘Several weeks ago Earl turned his Ann loose on furnishing their apartment - told her to do it up brown and hang the cost because they didn't know when they would be able to pay for it anyway.’
      • ‘It is one of those things that you can't say: ‘yeah, we did it up brown,’ every time, see.’
      • ‘So I accepted Bob's advice, and he came along with me to see that I did it up brown.’
      • ‘And it's no surprise when the Buckley fans decided to do something that they did it up brown.’
      • ‘As any Brother in the Bonds worth his salt can tell you, '94 was the 50th birthday of our fraternity, and the Dekes did it up brown.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • brown someone off

    • Make someone feel irritated or depressed.

      ‘they are getting browned off with the overtime’
      • ‘Come next year the electorate will be browned off with both Kenny and Rabbitte moaning and will vote for the old reliables again.’
      • ‘So they apparently were browned off with sunbathing and got starting to leave.’
      • ‘Instead, they were browned off with religion altogether, and only ever went to any church thereafter for a wedding or a funeral.’
      • ‘One was shot down and we were browned off to pick up the crew of that Junkers - they didn't like the idea of scrambling up the net and asked for ladders.’
      • ‘The Colonel said that some of his men were browned off because there had been no opposition on the beaches.’
      • ‘He was browned off too - bored out of his mind in a garden pond swimming round the same cement gnome every day.’
      • ‘Well dear I suppose you'll be browned off with all that, but if you want to hear of more experiences let me know.’
      • ‘Corporate Games is a ‘special venture’ for managers, the best clients and business partners that have been browned off with pattern thinking and endless hours of office work.’
      • ‘I always thought I played safe in that respect but I guess the censor was browned off or something, it's silly to take things to that extent.’
      • ‘Therefore it is very easy to see why supporters are hugely frustrated and very browned off.’
      fed up, irritated, annoyed, exasperated, irked, put out, peeved, piqued, disgruntled
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Old English brūn, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch bruin and German braun.