Definition of brush-off in English:



  • [in singular] A rejection or dismissal in which someone is treated as unimportant.

    ‘he's been giving her the brush-off’
    • ‘Yet their refusal to explain their missions to anybody - even fellow Westerners are often given a polite brush-off - has does little to endear them to a population already gritting its teeth under occupation.’
    • ‘The Countess of Newburgh gave the brush-off to an earl 15 times and locked him out of her house.’
    • ‘But if so, he would seem to have been given the brush-off.’
    • ‘Recalling that Labour received a derisive brush-off from the White House before the 1987 election, I am thankful that Labour is now the only truly Atlanticist party.’
    • ‘Usually he could give them the brush-off, politely but firmly.’
    • ‘‘Robbie is not the kind of person who will accept the polite brush-off,’ says Black.’
    • ‘If you're totally in the dark about why you're getting the brush-off, ask the girls what's up.’
    • ‘I assumed that, when I gave him the brush-off, that would be the end of it but since then, two weeks ago, he has called me practically every evening.’
    • ‘But every time I accosted a potential voter, I seemed to be getting the brush-off, and they were getting ruder and ruder. ‘No!’’
    • ‘Or maybe it's a pre-emptive brush-off, the formal equivalent of Kurt Vonnegut's reply when asked where he got his characters from: ‘Cincinnati,’ he said.’
    • ‘When we put this conjecture to Koutsoukis, he gave us the polite brush-off, mumbling something about ‘confidentiality of sources and methods.’’
    • ‘After getting the brush-off a second time, he found the villa's gates locked and, with just £14 in his pocket, was forced to sleep on a beach.’
    • ‘When Schemo called Kissinger's office for his side, it gave her the traditional brush-off.’
    • ‘When she turned up her nose, Kottler approached her coworker only to face rejection again, but this time, he found the brush-off liberating.’
    • ‘But the risk is too great for this former inmate, who decides to look out only for herself and gives her friend the brush-off.’
    • ‘Peng immediately called the county police hotline to seek assistance, but officials gave him the brush-off, referring him instead to the county's ‘traffic police.’’
    • ‘Last week you were having cosy, informal chats in their office, now you're getting the brush-off whenever you try to instigate a meeting.’
    • ‘Bogus callers were given the brush-off by an alert householder in Colchester.’
    • ‘The next time you get the brush-off from an Eircom ‘customer service’ representative for having the gall to ask where your broadband connection is, take heart because it could hurt the pay packet of Phil Nolan, Eircom's boss.’
    • ‘The Sunday Times is familiar with the brush-off that the International Olympic Committee, and the British Olympic Committee, gave as a knee-jerk response to a thinking man's complaint.’
    rejection, refusal, rebuff, dismissal, spurning, repudiation, repulse, turndown, discouragement
    snub, slight, cut, cold-shouldering
    elbow, knock-back
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