Main definitions of brush in US English:

: brush1brush2

brush1

noun

  • 1An implement with a handle, consisting of bristles, hair, or wire set into a block, used for cleaning or scrubbing, applying a liquid or powder to a surface, arranging the hair, or other purposes.

    ‘a paint brush’
    • ‘Don't comb with a bristle brush when your hair is wet, because it can pull hair out more quickly.’
    • ‘Male pattern baldness is not due to the shampoo one uses or because of wearing a helmet, or hat, or because a person brushes or rubs his hair very often.’
    • ‘She dipped it into the glass of water that was beside it and then put the bristles of the brush into the red paint that lay spilt on the floor.’
    • ‘There is a move from detailed images made with small brushes to ones broadly handled in increasingly thick, tacky paint.’
    • ‘Interdental brushes are small, specially designed brushes for cleaning between the teeth.’
    • ‘I like to apply it with a powder brush rather than the puff it comes with.’
    • ‘He takes a small brush and brushes the powder over the keypad.’
    • ‘Continue working with a brush and blow-dryer until hair is dry.’
    • ‘Using a pastry brush, paint the beaten eggs over the surface of each piece of rice paper.’
    • ‘She dabbed a brush in a beige powder and brushed Cassie's cheeks.’
    • ‘Wet the brush bristles thoroughly, and work in the shampoo or wash.’
    • ‘After she has dressed, the Queen's hairdresser brushes and arranges her hair in the familiar royal style.’
    • ‘He nodded towards the bowl of dirty brown liquid they'd used to clean their paint-soaked brushes.’
    • ‘‘Students were told to contribute money for the purchase of brooms, mops, brushes and paint for the contest,’ he said.’
    • ‘I ran a brush through my hair quickly and applied the slightest bit of makeup so that I didn't look quite as ragged as I felt since the long day after not sleeping.’
    • ‘She picked up her brush and brushed her hair until all the tangles came out.’
    • ‘Imagine, if you will, an artist loading a brush with paint, applying it to the canvas, and then waiting a week to see what it looks like.’
    • ‘Clean the brushes using paint thinner, if you used oil-based, or soap and water if you used latex.’
    • ‘Next, apply the sealer according to manufacturer's instructions with a brush, broom or paint roller.’
    • ‘In each case the slip was most likely applied with a brush or other implement, rather than being trailed in liquid form from a slip cup.’
    broom, sweeper, besom, whisk, sweeping brush
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An act of sweeping, applying, or arranging with a brush or with one's hand.
      ‘he gave the seat a brush’
      • ‘A light brush of green eye shadow accented her light, blue eyes very nicely.’
      • ‘All it takes is a single brush of color across the lids or under the eyes or a touch at the outer corners.’
      • ‘A final brush of powder over DiCaprio's nose, a dip inside the corner of his eye, and it's take three.’
      • ‘There is a bit more than an inch of brushy area on toothbrushes, so a tube should provide 113 liberal brushes.’
      • ‘Two of the retired sheepdogs from the neighbouring farm occasionally come to visit us, and we make them welcome, give them a stroke or a brush and a few dog biscuits.’
      clean, sweep, wipe, dust, mop
      View synonyms
  • 2A slight and fleeting touch.

    ‘the lightest brush of his lips against her cheek’
    • ‘Stepping closer to carefully wind it around her shoulders, the light brush of his fingers against her skin was enough to send a shiver through her.’
    • ‘If he could make her heart race like that with just a light brush of fingertips along her cheek, she was afraid of losing herself completely in any other touch.’
    • ‘I like to feel fingers immersing themselves in my hair and the gentlest brush of the fingers on my neck - invisibly marking my skin for pleasing later.’
    • ‘You would agree and yet still press yourself against me for a brush of the lips.’
    • ‘He leaned forward and kissed her forehead - a brotherly brush of his lips against her skin, no more.’
    • ‘Another brush of his lips over her knuckles, and then he turned his horse about.’
    • ‘Without a word, he inclined his head and kissed said mouth softly, barely more than a brush of the lips.’
    • ‘She shut her eyes and wished Daiju and Suku were with her until she felt a light brush against her forehead.’
    • ‘The most delicate of glances, a mere brush of the forehead, was all that was needed to redirect it into the far corner of the net.’
    • ‘I didn't even think about it until I felt the brush of his lips against my palm as his mouth closed in surprise.’
    • ‘I felt a gentle brush of lips against mine and I jumped back, hitting my head on the stone.’
    • ‘She blushed as he came to, rounding her final swing into a delicate brush of his face with her fingertips.’
    • ‘It was more like a slight brush of lips - it would have been a kiss if it weren't for Sean though.’
    • ‘During some unknown time, a brush against his shoulder awakened him to his surroundings.’
    • ‘Wyn felt the gentle brush of his lips against hers, and shut her eyes, melting into the kiss.’
    • ‘When they see a person they like eye contact or a light brush of the hand passing is used to indicate interest.’
    • ‘The car kept interpreting the lightest brush of foot against pedal as an invitation to perform an emergency stop.’
    • ‘She didn't say a word, nor even touch me any more than a brush against my neck.’
    • ‘Grabbing the bottles from the cashier, she walked past him with a simple brush in the shoulder.’
    • ‘The brush of lips quickly turned into something completely different-more urgent and hungry.’
    touch, stroke, skim, graze, glance, rub, shave, pat, nudge, contact
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 A brief encounter with someone or something unpleasant or notable.
      ‘a brush with death’
      ‘my first brush with fame’
      • ‘Any strange brushes with celebrities while you were down in the LA recording the new album?’
      • ‘The signs, however, are that no matter how polite or mutual the rules of engagement, his brush with the spikier side of his best friend has left him somewhat cowed.’
      • ‘La Haye plays a deep-sea diver who suffers a memory lapse after surviving a brush with death in India.’
      • ‘The incident is the second brush with the law for Simpson since he moved to Kendall, 15 miles from Miami, last year.’
      • ‘Tonight, trouble for the president's twin daughters: a brush with the law makes front-page headlines.’
      • ‘He said his brush with death and daily fight for fitness forced him to re-evaluate his goals and gave him a renewed zest for life and work.’
      • ‘My brief brush with knitting lasted long enough to make a scarf for my little sister's Barbie (yes, that's how many moons ago it was).’
      • ‘Miller and Bennett continued their scholarly interests well after their brief brush with the satire revolution.’
      • ‘After a brief brush with academia, he slipped into the life of a freelance writer, producing company histories, TV scripts and a bit of Emmerdale.’
      • ‘It wasn't the first time that Gomez had experienced a brush with death.’
      • ‘Then there is a therapy service, Aftercare, to treat people who have been traumatised by their brief brush with fame.’
      • ‘He has already had a brush with cancer in the past and obviously is now encountering another serious health problem.’
      • ‘But a brush with the new authorities can mean a familiar encounter over identity cards and threats.’
      • ‘Survivor's guilt maybe, that my brush with the disease was ultimately brief and in the great scheme of things something of a non-starter.’
      • ‘He talks to others who had a brush with disaster fighting fires and rock-climbing in the Blue Mountains.’
      • ‘Political leaders and heads of state last night paid tribute to a commanding figure who survived both an assassination attempt and a brush with cancer during his time in the Oval Office.’
      • ‘His brief brush with crime came early yesterday morning while he was attending the annual UWI Splash fête at Bowen Marine, Chaguaramas.’
      • ‘Perhaps their closest brush with death was when a helicopter they had been due to travel in crashed into base camp, killing two people and injuring 11.’
      • ‘Doctor Ink experienced a recent brush with celebrity, and almost became a newsmaker in the process.’
      • ‘Martin says that his brush with death has left him with a determination to make the next Coldplay album the not only their best yet, but the ‘best album of all time’.’
      encounter, clash, confrontation, collision, conflict
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  • 3The bushy tail of a fox.

    • ‘Shortly after the tragic incident people started to notice that every night a large fox with a black brush would come and lay across the old woman's grave.’
    • ‘Not a muzzle or a brush of a fox is to be seen.’
    • ‘But the tail, drooping down the side of the shrine, is long and straight; and club-shaped at the tip, more like the brush of a fox than the curved tail of a dog, which is normally carried in an upright position rather than low down like that of a jackal, wolf, or fox.’
    tail, tailpiece
    View synonyms
  • 4usually brushesA thin stick set with long wire bristles, used to make a soft hissing sound on drums or cymbals.

    • ‘He created original sounds from his cymbals and skins using sticks, brushes, and even his hands.’
    • ‘It's just amazing what the man can do with a pair of brushes, a snare and a single ride cymbal.’
    • ‘A wide variety of drumsticks, including hard sticks, soft mallets, and brushes, is used.’
    • ‘The bass on the piano was heavily distorted and the drum brushes were too heavy.’
    • ‘The sound is almost like brushes on a snare drum.’
  • 5A piece of carbon or metal serving as an electrical contact with a moving part in a motor or alternator.

    • ‘You remember the old motors used to have those brushes and sparks, that smell of ozone?’
    • ‘I realize that the brushes, which transfer the electric current, are probably the key, but come on!’
    • ‘It's a wonderful piece of machinery; brushes and tubes fit together perfectly.’
    • ‘There are no expensive moving parts such as brushes, bearings, belts and pulleys to regularly maintain or replace.’
    • ‘Thus, pump life has been limited by the wear of the brushes in conventional brush-type motors.’

verb

  • 1with adverbial Remove (dust or dirt) by sweeping or scrubbing.

    ‘we'll be able to brush the mud off easily’
    ‘he brushed himself down’
    • ‘‘So far, we have found five skeletons in this pit,’ he added, carefully brushing the dirt from a left femur.’
    • ‘He carefully brushed dirt and grit away from the skeleton he was unearthing with a tiny, soft-haired brush.’
    • ‘He squeezed under the bucket and began to brush the dirt away.’
    • ‘With extreme care he began to brush away dust from the stones on the floor of what he knew was a tomb.’
    • ‘Desiree walked to one of the windows, and tried to brush the dust out of it.’
    sweep, clean, buff, scrub
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Use a brush or one's hand to remove dust or dirt from (something)
      ‘she brushed down her best coat’
      • ‘I said through giggles, as I pulled him from Travis, who brushed himself down and looked up from his seat.’
      • ‘He looked at Simeon as the latter picked himself up and brushed himself down, shooting his enemy a triumphant smirk as he did so.’
      • ‘He could have kept that in the dressing room, brushed himself down, come out afterwards and accepted one defeat.’
      • ‘Malachi tried to look impassive as he struggled to his feet and brushed himself down.’
      • ‘Putting a brave face on it, I picked myself up, brushed myself down and carried on to school, buckled front wheel wobbling like a clown's car.’
      • ‘Standing up, she brushed herself down and looked to her left.’
      • ‘Marshall got up, brushed himself down, grabbed his case, and walked to the door.’
      • ‘The Chief picked himself off the floor and brushed himself down.’
      • ‘He stands up, brushes the dirt from himself, and waddles up to her with a huge grin on his face.’
      • ‘Charmian stood and brushed herself down, a serious, practical face on.’
      • ‘In a flash we had jumped up and brushed ourselves down.’
      • ‘He brushed the dust from his blue waistcoat and wiped his aviator sunglasses on the hem of his shirt.’
      sweep, clean, buff, scrub
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Clean (one's teeth) by scrubbing with a brush.
      • ‘But she needs her teeth brushed and claws clipped on a regular basis!’
      • ‘After showering, brushing my teeth and putting on clean clothes I unlocked the shower door and headed to the hospital wing.’
      • ‘For three weeks I didn't bathe (except for the occasional wet wipe), brush my teeth or comb my hair.’
      • ‘The vet will be able to tell you how to brush the dog's teeth, how to clean his ears as well as how to clip toenails.’
      • ‘Power failures seem to be the order of the day as they have become as routine as brushing one's teeth every morning.’
      • ‘We were fortunate in that The Hog loved having his teeth brushed and it was never necessary to take him to the vet to have them done under anaesthetic, as is usual.’
      • ‘Physical removal of the bacteria through brushing or wiping the teeth is still necessary.’
      • ‘I had put on my clothes, brushed my teeth, fixed my hair and cleaned up my room a little before they came back upstairs.’
      • ‘Call if you would like to be taught how to clean and brush your child's teeth and gums.’
      • ‘I kicked off my covers and ran into the bathroom, brushed my teeth and cleaned myself off.’
      • ‘Keep your mouth clean by brushing your teeth at least four times a day (after meals and at bedtime).’
      • ‘The teeth and tongue should be kept clean by brushing twice daily.’
      • ‘I changed into a long t-shirt and clean underwear and then brushed my teeth, washed my face, and combed my hair.’
      • ‘I scrubbed my face and brushed my teeth, grabbed my bag and ran out the door at 8.01, only one minute late!’
      • ‘She taught me about what her grooming needs would be, everything from cleaning her face to brushing her teeth.’
      • ‘Soon, we finished eating and Halley took Isabella upstairs to change into her pajamas and brush her teeth as I cleaned up the kitchen.’
      • ‘I finished brushing my teeth and wiped the steamy mirror so I could see my reflection.’
      • ‘After showering, I brushed my teeth and cleaned the rest of last night's make up off my eyes.’
      • ‘As long as the clothes are clean and his teeth are brushed, he's kind to others and he stays out of jail - it'll be okay.’
      • ‘When she finished, she dressed into her clean clothes and brushed her teeth.’
    3. 1.3 Arrange (one's hair) by running a brush through it.
      • ‘Use a boar's head or similar type of high quality styling tool to brush all hair smoothly back from the forehead.’
      • ‘She brushed a long auburn hair away from her face and pursed cherry red lips.’
      • ‘Each evening, she sat in a chair on the balcony, brushing her long auburn hair while watching the sun set over the ocean.’
      • ‘An Afro or wide-toothed comb is ideal for brushing tightly curled black hair.’
      • ‘Avery picked up a comb and continued brushing her hair straight.’
      • ‘But I needed to know who it was so I pulled out a comb and brushed my hair forward a little and put it to the side.’
      • ‘She pulled her favourite hairbrush out of the top right-hand drawer and started brushing her long auburn hair.’
      • ‘You are not allowed to brush your hair or adjust your bed-head ponytail!’
      • ‘She sat down across from him behind her desk, taking out a comb and brushing her long blonde hair.’
      • ‘Lena stepped nervously into the classroom, smoothing her jeans the best she could, and brushing the long brown hairs from her black top.’
      • ‘She brushed her hair smooth, and at that turned to the door and walked down the hall.’
      • ‘He also liked having his hair brushed, he would hoot and grunt as mom combed it every morning.’
      • ‘Peeking through the window, the prince saw the most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes on, wearing a dress of golden satin and brushing out her lustrous hair.’
      • ‘She hurried down, to shoo it off Zed's doona, guiltily brushing away imaginary hairs.’
      • ‘Pulling on a pair of trousers, and brushing damp freshly-washed hair out of my eyes, I tried to work out what they'd got me for.’
      • ‘I furiously brushed my hair smooth after my run up to my room.’
      • ‘To pass the time, she busied herself arranging Cecily's nightdress and brushing her hair.’
      • ‘I pulled out a comb and brushed my hair, it was difficult to pull the knots out but I was able too.’
      • ‘Mika walked over to her clothes that were wet and now dry in her bag and took out a comb and brushed her hair into mid length wavy locks.’
      • ‘Humming quietly to herself, Sarah got out a comb and brushed her hair.’
      groom, comb, neaten, tidy, make neat, make tidy, smarten, smooth, arrange, fix, adjust, preen, primp, do, titivate
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    4. 1.4 Apply a liquid to (a surface) with a brush.
      ‘brush the potatoes with oil’
      • ‘There are also many proprietary liquids and pastes that have a disagreeable taste and can be brushed onto surfaces that the horse favours.’
      • ‘Brush the potatoes with a little melted butter or dripping.’
      • ‘The first is for the marinating process and the other is to brush on the meat while grilling.’
      • ‘Once the pan is hot, brush the roast with the olive oil, and sear on all sides, approximately 8 to 10 minutes total cooking time.’
      • ‘The mercury was applied by vigorously brushing it onto the surface of the metal.’
  • 2no object Touch lightly and gently.

    ‘stems of grass brush against her legs’
    • ‘The tips of my fingers brush against a bundle of money in my right pocket and I turn, heading towards the door.’
    • ‘Lexi patted Jordan's cheek lightly and then brushed past him, so she could make her way towards his room.’
    • ‘I felt his fingers brush against my cheeks, like he was holding my face in his hands.’
    • ‘She stepped closer and her tapered fingers brushed lightly against the tender skin beneath his eye.’
    • ‘Every time his hand would gently brush against mine, I trembled inside.’
    • ‘She smiled, her fingers brushing lightly over the pictured faces.’
    • ‘Suddenly, Larken felt icy fingers brush against her face and neck.’
    • ‘Leo's fingers brush against mine as he pulls the gun from me.’
    • ‘Lia tilted her head to the side, allowing his fingers to brush against her cheek, lightly.’
    • ‘As he helps me his fingers brush against my skin sending shivers through me.’
    • ‘Slowly, he let his fingers drift down to brush against Jake's, and he gave the smallest smile.’
    • ‘Slowly, she brought a tremulous hand up, starting as she felt her fingers brush against her cheek.’
    • ‘All I did was give her a glance as I brushed past her and made for the front door.’
    • ‘Jenna fumbled a moment with Allison's tie and she reached up to help her, their fingers brushing together gently.’
    • ‘She brushed past him, fingers working at the clasp of her deep green cloak.’
    • ‘I gently brushed past them and walked to the side of the stage.’
    • ‘I remember because she used to tap me gently on the head with her elbow whenever she brushed past me, just because I was the right height for it.’
    • ‘Mark stood at the panel, his fingers brushing lightly against the self destruct button.’
    • ‘Raphael stretched his fingers out and they brushed against hers lightly.’
    • ‘Then she felt James' lips on her skin… just lightly touching and brushing against her forehead.’
    touch, stroke, caress, skim, sweep, graze, shave, glance, contact, flick, scrape
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object Push (something) away with a quick movement of the hand.
      ‘she brushed a wisp of hair away from her face’
      • ‘One of the tears fell down my face, and I brushed it away with an annoyed sweep of my hand.’
      • ‘She reached up to push them away, but before she could Brandon brushed them away for her and tucked them behind her ear.’
      • ‘He brushed a strand of hair from her face and pushed it gently behind her ear.’
      • ‘She brushed a tear from her eye and quick replaced the letters and the sack and waited for Tracey to return.’
      • ‘Pulling back the covers he laid her in and pulled the covers up over her before brushing the hair from her face and pressing a quick kiss to her unresponsive lips.’
      • ‘Gold-brown hair fell into her eyes and he pushed it back, brushing it behind her ear, and cupping her cheek in his hand.’
      • ‘He used his hands constantly, poking the air, dragging a thumb across his eyebrow, brushing a fly from his cheek.’
      • ‘He quickly pushed that thought away, and brushed some stray locks of hair from her face.’
      • ‘Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose and brushing his hair out of his eyes, his name tag shown under the one light of the room, bearing the name ‘Kevin’.’
      • ‘Eave breathed out and stepped back, carefully pushing one of Raine's plaits behind her shoulder, brushing a loose strand away from her face.’
      • ‘She gave him a wry smile, brushing her hair away from her face into a quick bun.’
      • ‘He pushed down the hood on her cloak, and then brushed the hair away from her ears.’
      • ‘In a habitual movement of his hand he brushed his hair from his forehead then replaced it gently to the piano.’
      • ‘She pushed the feeling away from her heart while she brushed Darren's fringe away from his eyes.’
      • ‘She dragged him to the door, all the while brushing his hands away from her hair.’
      push, move, sweep, clear, clean, remove
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • brush someone/something aside

    • Dismiss someone or something curtly and confidently.

      ‘people brushed aside the possibility of imminent war’
      • ‘The girl laughed, brushing the mild insult aside.’
      • ‘I brushed the idea aside and tried to forget about it.’
      • ‘I brushed the thought aside and ignored the feeling in my stomach.’
      • ‘She had taken her prospectus to a colleague, but he dismissed the idea, brushing it aside with ‘the industry is too broad.’’
      • ‘The ‘because I say so’ attitude of old seems to be disappearing - largely because street-wise, confident children are brushing it aside, demanding to be given the rationale behind requests.’
      • ‘In fact I brushed it aside with the merest of shrugs and am tentatively starting to believe that I may actually finish this house before I retire, if that isn't too daringly optimistic.’
      • ‘Sure, one can have an opinion, but it can be brushed aside, shrugged off - it's just your point of view, after all.’
      • ‘That mindset makes it easy to ignore the facts or brush them aside because ‘the facts ‘aren't really facts, at least not as most of us understand them.’
      • ‘Leila brushed his words aside with a light laugh.’
      • ‘She took a moment to reflect on what she must look like, and did a mental shrug, brushing the subject aside.’
      disregard, ignore, dismiss, shrug off, pass over, put aside, sweep aside, wave aside
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  • brush someone back

    • (of a pitcher) force a batter to step back to avoid being hit by a ball pitched close to the body.

      • ‘Baseball is all about pitching inside and trying to brush the batter back off the plate.’
      • ‘And on top of that, the pitcher would think twice about trying to brush the batter back off the plate.’
      • ‘I would have brushed him back off the plate a couple of times.’
  • brush someone/something off

    • Dismiss someone or something in an abrupt way.

      ‘the state brushed off the idea as something that would never happen’
      • ‘I stood to face him, and he was brushing me off, trying to avoid my eyes.’
      • ‘My ex tried to talk to the bitch woman after the game, but she at first ignored him and then brushed him off, saying that parents who complain are problems she doesn't have time for.’
      • ‘The Japanese didn't buy it, brushed it off and dismissed it.’
      • ‘On visits to Washington, Chancellor Schroeder was brushed off, while the French were openly vilified.’
      • ‘When MPs such as Alex Salmond asked about UN authorisation for air strikes against Afghanistan, their concern was brushed off as a pettifogging detail rather than an understandable concern.’
      • ‘This has been going on for so many years but we will not be brushed off.’
      • ‘The letter said staff complaints about Blair were brushed off by journalism school officials, and many complaints were not filed because of a fear that speaking out against Blair would undermine favour with the journalism school.’
      • ‘He then went up to her and tried to start a conversation but she brushed him off and ignored him.’
      • ‘Well, all morning - you've been ignoring me and brushing me off.’
      • ‘She also felt really flattered that he liked her so much as to forgive her for brushing him off and rejecting him.’
      rebuff, dismiss, spurn, reject, repudiate, refuse, disown, slight, deny, scorn, disdain
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  • brush past

    • Touch fleetingly and in passing.

      ‘she brushed past him to leave the room’
      • ‘Marjoline squeaked, trying to brush past her, but Jacquiline barred the way with her arm and put Marjoline back in her place with only a slight nudge.’
      • ‘Adam felt him brush past and glanced towards him.’
      • ‘Grace rolled her eyes as she stood up, ‘this isn't even your apartment,’ she tried to brush past him to the door but he wouldn't let her.’
      • ‘I brush past her and finally come into the study.’
      • ‘I often see people coming to take a sprig for their Sunday roast lamb - others just brush past it or crush a sprig between their fingers.’
      • ‘Have you ever been tapped on the shoulder when no-one is there, or sometimes can you feel some-one brush past you, again when no-one is there?’
      • ‘I tried to brush past her, but she was blocking my way.’
      • ‘Or maybe I'll see one of them around in the street, as a passer-by, perhaps in twenty years time; and I'll brush past them, not noticing who they are.’
      • ‘He picked up his suitcase and tried to brush past her.’
      • ‘Scented geraniums release their fragrances to the air only when you touch them or brush past.’
      • ‘As I had my eyes closed, I could hear the sounds, I heard the sounds of crows cawing nearby, and I felt wings brush past my hands and feet so often.’
      • ‘As the door closed, I felt a cool breeze brush past me.’
      • ‘Pixie glanced at her and was about to brush past her when she continued on, ‘How do you feel about your father's case.’’
      • ‘His jaw drops, the cameraman giggles and I brush past him and head into the store.’
      • ‘Shaking the ache out of my hand and pretending not to heed my momentarily stupefied foe, I brush past him, taking advantage of his disbelief.’
      • ‘She tried to brush past him but he grabbed her wrist.’
      • ‘I brush past some onlookers too scared to get their hair wet and step outside.’
      • ‘I felt something brush past me; a phantom presence.’
      • ‘But, I heard the horse brush past some branches, and I opened my eyes - the horse had gone through the trees just fine.’
      • ‘They brush past me; some giving me strange looks as to why I've stopped where I've stopped, no one actually stopping alongside.’
  • brush up on (or brush something up)

    • Improve one's previously good knowledge of or skill at a particular thing.

      ‘brush up on your telephone skills’
      • ‘Marion took a part-time job at Guaranteed Trust on Lonsdale Avenue, while at the same time brushing up on her business skills in evening classes at Lucas School.’
      • ‘These camps keep children amused while allowing them to brush up on their acting skills, the backstroke or learn to play a sport.’
      • ‘If I were him, I'd start brushing up on my typing skills.’
      • ‘Returning to work will be daunting enough, getting used to the new equipment, brushing up on your skills and having very little clothes up to date.’
      • ‘Perhaps your reading comprehension skills need a little brushing up on.’
      • ‘He has obviously been brushing up on a number of skills - his encyclopedic memory of what goes on in the Robert McDougall Gallery - in order to get ready for the new job that he will need, come 2005.’
      • ‘He said the bus also offered fun materials for brushing up on reading, writing and maths skills.’
      • ‘Our Mr. Hunter needs brushing up on his profiling skills,’ Shanelle teased back jumping into the conversation.’
      • ‘I hope the Rev is brushing up on his acting skills.’
      • ‘Drivers are being offered a chance to brush up on their skills in a six-week course.’
      revise, read up, go over, refresh one's memory of, relearn, cram, study, learn
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Origin

Middle English: noun from Old French broisse; verb partly from Old French brosser ‘to sweep’.

Pronunciation

brush

/brəSH//brəʃ/

Main definitions of brush in US English:

: brush1brush2

brush2

noun

Australian, North American, NZ
  • 1Undergrowth, small trees, and shrubs.

    • ‘The wagon driver emerged from the brush and they were able to make out his face.’
    • ‘The flycatcher was seen lurking in the low brush bordering a secluded pond.’
    • ‘Ever wary, he might poke his head or body out of the brush a few minutes later - or perhaps not.’
    • ‘Emerging from the brush came a small, white, house cat with glowing pink eyes.’
    • ‘The Spotted Towhee is a distinctive bird that is often heard before it is seen, scraping about in the brush.’
    • ‘It moved again, and with a start of surprise I realized it was the antlers of a nice mule deer, bedded in the brush.’
    • ‘I had been in place no more than 15 minutes when I saw the antlers coming through the brush.’
    • ‘Apart from these birds, however, we found nothing else but a lone Winter Wren murmuring softly in the brush.’
    • ‘Five minutes later, Kagze was holding Hatoko's hand, leading her through the light brush on the edge of the forest.’
    • ‘Instead of lining up at feeders like proper birds, they lurk in the treetops and skulk in the brush.’
    • ‘The marsh, before barely visible through the brush, is now easy to see.’
    • ‘The brush in southern California looks as if it will burn: It's dry and creepy.’
    • ‘From the brush came the hard sound of a heavy rush of water.’
    • ‘Most were happy to leave behind the bayonets that caught the brush and jammed into their sides as they hit the ground.’
    • ‘He plunged into the brush, and emerged a few minutes later leading two horses, one a grey gelding and the other a dappled mare.’
    • ‘Quite entertaining were some young Catbirds, meowing away in the tangled brush.’
    • ‘There they have set up deer targets in the brush and point out birds in the trees for the new employees to spot.’
    • ‘A witness had saw a suspect throwing a flaming device from the side of the road into the brush here, which caught fire.’
    • ‘Ray climbed down the tree and looked around in the brush, without any luck.’
    • ‘Because of this quietude, the rustle in the brush behind me sounded like a shot through the lazy summer air.’
    undergrowth, underwood, scrub, scrubland, brushwood, bracken, bushes
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Land covered with undergrowth, small trees, and shrubs.
      • ‘Sometimes he would tell gruesome tales about medical procedures practiced in the jungle brush.’
      • ‘Suddenly a brown-haired stallion came galloping out of the brush.’
      • ‘Her breathing was harsh and ragged as she stumbled through the brush, glancing back over her shoulder fearfully.’
      undergrowth, underwood, scrub, scrubland, brushwood, bracken, bushes
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    2. 1.2 Cut brushwood.
      • ‘Gwyn managed to make a warm fire out of a pathetic pile of dry sticks and brush.’
      • ‘Build a brush pile near your feeder to make sparrows, towhees, and other shy birds feel more at home, but be sure it won't harbor roaming cats.’
      • ‘A Cook County Forest Preserve District representative last week said brush pile fires, set to dispose of chopped trees and buckthorn, and prescribed burns pose no threat to the public.’
      undergrowth, underwood, scrub, scrubland, brushwood, bracken, bushes
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French broce, perhaps based on Latin bruscum, denoting an excrescence on a maple.

Pronunciation

brush

/brəSH//brəʃ/