Definition of brutal in US English:

brutal

adjective

  • 1Savagely violent.

    ‘a brutal murder’
    • ‘It should be remembered that the majority of people sent to the colony as convicts were truly violent, brutal and evil, and all the vices of Europe came to be concentrated in the convict districts.’
    • ‘The other city in the story is a scene of a violent and brutal revolution that wreaks havoc on the lives of the book's main characters.’
    • ‘He is arrogant, uncaring, and to most of the slaves brutal and violent.’
    • ‘But this only made the eventual military response more brutal and violent.’
    • ‘Also note the subtle arcs that the movie takes, going from lies to truth, from betrayal to love, and from safety and artifice to brutal, bloody violence.’
    • ‘Many of these people are violent brutal people and those who believe they should all be released into the community really have their heads in a cloud.’
    • ‘A brutal, violent and uncompromising story with a controversial ending you'll never forget.’
    • ‘It was hard to imagine that he was capable of committing what we soon were to discover from some shocking photographs had been a brutal and bloody murder.’
    • ‘That he is a violent and brutal man there can be no doubt, but brutalised and a victim too.’
    • ‘These days, to impress anyone at all, a heist film requires either heaps of brutal, gory violence or a really clever plot.’
    • ‘The tragedy of the savage, brutal murders perpetrated on two young mothers a few years ago still lingers.’
    • ‘This is a pattern of oppression that has been repeated for centuries, often in the most violent and brutal of ways.’
    • ‘Beneath that apparently jokey exterior there was a very nasty, brutal violent person who did tremendous damage to Uganda.’
    • ‘Hockey at the professional level is fast and rough and often brutal and violent.’
    • ‘The characters are, with the possible exception of Beatrix, uniformly foul, violent, brutal, cold.’
    • ‘Back to serial killers, who having once committed their evil act, are then driven by an insatiable lust for more, each act more violent and brutal than the last.’
    • ‘The films show the aftermath, the impact and the consequences of these brutal and violent crimes - focussing on the bereaved families and the surviving victims.’
    • ‘She was then murdered in a brutal and savage attack.’
    • ‘Where the government are getting it wrong is that they seem unable to differentiate between the mild irritant of inebriated and loud youth and the frightening increase in violent and brutal crime.’
    • ‘This, of course, completely ignores both the fact that a brutal violent dictatorship has been overthrown, and that a significant regional threat to stability has been removed.’
    savage, cruel, bloodthirsty, vicious, ferocious, barbaric, barbarous, wicked, murderous, cold-blooded, hard-hearted, harsh
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Punishingly hard or uncomfortable.
      ‘the brutal winter wind’
      • ‘The water is a chilling 3°C and the cold weather is made even more unpleasant by a brutal wind-chill.’
      • ‘It's hard, harsh, cold and brutal, but lovely beyond compare.’
      • ‘Alternating graceful acoustic songs with brutal hard rock, Neil Young has somehow fashioned a career that has straddled five decades.’
      • ‘The images depicted illustrate a harsh and brutal reality that the country is still coming to terms with.’
      • ‘After this brutal winter, golfers and superintendents alike are itching to get back on course, eager to see what a new season holds.’
      • ‘Communist realist art is often brutal and inhuman, but it can also display a touching faith in human nature and perfectability, as I think this poster indicates.’
      • ‘Her life on the ranch was her life, and though it was hard and brutal on her body, it made her heart sing to look out over the mountain and know that she was the keeper of the land here.’
      • ‘But local sanctions could also be harsh and were especially brutal in punishing the ‘sexual misconduct’ blamed on women.’
      • ‘The chain gang was not just a brutal hell of hard labor and cruel punishment, from which there was no relief other than death, escape or eventual expiry of sentence.’
      • ‘In this way, the badger is emblematic of the poet's struggle with self and with his artistic creativity, as well as with the ordered, yet harsh and brutal world of reality.’
      • ‘In general, life was brutal and harsh for the early medieval peasant.’
      • ‘For most of us, the holiday period is a slow process of shrugging off its coils - only to have them tighten up again on that brutal Monday morning in early January.’
      • ‘In the early 1890s, a series of brutal winters decimated the cattle industry.’
      • ‘He claims they help him feel healthy, which translates into harder and more brutal training sessions and enhanced recovery.’
      • ‘Why, I wonder, don't these novels ever depict a brave new world that's learned its lesson, one that's loving and gentle instead of harsh and brutal?’
      • ‘The visuals are indeed noisy, harsh, unforgiving, brutal, lo-fi verging on no-fi.’
      • ‘The Wind brutal and pure, is there for its own reasons, and human life, any life, counts for close to nought.’
      • ‘Because it is just another bit of London pavement, albeit one that shows one of the many scars of this strange, brutal, callous, extraordinary city.’
      • ‘The track is cut into the valley side, there were tin mine remnants, lime kilns, circular sheepfolds - old stuff in the harsh almost brutal landscape.’
      • ‘Welcome the change from your peaceful existence to the harsh, brutal reality that is my world.’
      • ‘Australia at the tail-end of the 19th century was a hard and brutal place.’
      • ‘The Doc has walked the streets of the Second City during brutal winter days and has felt the wind whipping like barbed wire across his face.’
      • ‘Almost four centuries ago, the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast to thank God after suffering through a brutal winter.’
      • ‘However, scores of deploying airmen have not had to endure the harsh and brutal conditions awaiting them halfway around the world.’
      • ‘A great many fishermen perished at sea, especially during the brutal winter season.’
      • ‘Kocher delivers concentrated doses of unadorned reality - not necessarily harsh and brutal but hardly always pretty, either.’
      • ‘If Dakota winters were brutal under shelter, out in the open they could be deadly.’
      • ‘Your phrasing in many areas is harsh and even brutal.’
      • ‘Right now we like to play music that is hard and brutal.’
      • ‘They readily acknowledge that mining, as an occupation, was hard and brutal.’
      • ‘He hated the brutal Chicago winter and longed for home; he didn't do well in cold weather, never had.’
      • ‘She turned, rubbing her head and squinting her eyes against the brutal morning sun.’
      • ‘It becomes nothing more than yet another idealisation of a brutal, unpleasant Truth.’
      • ‘Life for Britain's miners may have been hard, brutal and, in too many cases, short.’
      • ‘The four-mile hike up 8,749-foot Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, can be brutal in winter.’
      • ‘The tents, blankets and clothes were their only protection against a brutal winter.’
      • ‘Northern Europe has been hit by intense winter storms and brutal cold.’
      • ‘After this brutal winter, make sure to take some time and enjoy the summer here.’
      • ‘Life was raw and hard and often pretty brutal, and I don't think I had enough sensitivity, I'd be the first to say that, and I think I see it a lot more clearly now.’
      • ‘Relations between people are generally harsh, sometimes brutal.’
    2. 1.2 Direct and lacking any attempt to disguise unpleasantness.
      ‘the brutal honesty of his observations’
      • ‘Frank writes with brutal honesty of his confusion as to why his son joined and his fears for John's safety as a Marine.’
      • ‘These diarised moments of brutal honesty, twinned with hesitant uncertainty, are typical of Woolf's swings between self-doubt and dogged ambition.’
      • ‘Accept the advice in the spirit it is given, which is brutal honesty.’
      • ‘And New York, in all its brutal honesty, will continue to be hated by those who envy its forthrightness.’
      • ‘His answer was brutal, harsher than he had ever meant.’
      • ‘The Speaker's job is to interview people who knew the deceased and to try and make that person live one last moment in the community by recounting aspects of that life with a brutal honesty.’
      • ‘They write about their experiences with humor, wisdom and brutal honesty.’
      • ‘Do it in a harsh, brutal way, in broad daylight with live TV coverage.’
      • ‘But such brutal accountability is hard to find in the public sphere.’
      • ‘The author has shown brutal honesty and hilarious wit in putting her thoughts and experiences into print.’
      • ‘Not my best, I await harsh brutal truths from my bandmates.’
      • ‘I'm sorry, I know that these are uncomfortable, even brutal questions, but they must be asked.’
      • ‘I think you are brutally honest and that's something I admire in a person, even when that brutal honesty is aimed at me.’
      • ‘Some weblogs, with their lacerating, brutal honesty, transport you to the extremities of human experience.’
      • ‘Yet the accompanying depiction of Louise's confused emotions towards him are incisive and brutal in their honesty.’
      • ‘The delicate and decorative character of his poetry does not lend itself to direct and brutal statement.’
      • ‘As a result, the book is often casually poignant, its matter-of-fact style laying moments of absolute courage out for the reader with brutal honesty.’
      • ‘It can be more accurately described as an uncomfortable viewing experience - but that's because it tells a brutal and uncomfortable story.’
      • ‘Joseph loves these hard, pat, brutal chunks of wisdom.’
      • ‘Sometimes brutal honesty is the best briefing any leader can receive.’
      unsparing, unstinting, unadorned, unembellished, unvarnished, bald, naked, stark, blunt, direct, straight, straightforward, frank, outspoken, forthright, plain-spoken
      View synonyms

Origin

Late 15th century (in the sense ‘relating to the lower animals’): from Old French, or from medieval Latin brutalis, from brutus ‘dull, stupid’ (see brute).

Pronunciation

brutal

/ˈbro͞odl//ˈbrudl/