Definition of brutal in English:


See synonyms for brutal

Translate brutal into Spanish


  • 1Savagely violent.

    ‘a brutal murder’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was then murdered in a brutal and savage attack.’
    • ‘The tragedy of the savage, brutal murders perpetrated on two young mothers a few years ago still lingers.’
    • ‘He is arrogant, uncaring, and to most of the slaves brutal and violent.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That he is a violent and brutal man there can be no doubt, but brutalised and a victim too.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But this only made the eventual military response more brutal and violent.’
    • ‘These days, to impress anyone at all, a heist film requires either heaps of brutal, gory violence or a really clever plot.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 films show the aftermath, the impact and the consequences of these brutal and violent crimes - focussing on the bereaved families and the surviving victims.’
    • ‘A brutal, violent and uncompromising story with a controversial ending you'll never forget.’
    savage, cruel, bloodthirsty, vicious, ferocious, barbaric, barbarous, wicked, murderous, cold-blooded, hard-hearted, harsh
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Punishingly hard or uncomfortable.
      ‘the brutal winter wind’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Australia at the tail-end of the 19th century was a hard and brutal place.’
      • ‘The Wind brutal and pure, is there for its own reasons, and human life, any life, counts for close to nought.’
      • ‘They readily acknowledge that mining, as an occupation, was hard and brutal.’
      • ‘The water is a chilling 3°C and the cold weather is made even more unpleasant by a brutal wind-chill.’
      • ‘He claims they help him feel healthy, which translates into harder and more brutal training sessions and enhanced recovery.’
      • ‘In the early 1890s, a series of brutal winters decimated the cattle industry.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The tents, blankets and clothes were their only protection against a brutal winter.’
      • ‘The four-mile hike up 8,749-foot Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, can be brutal in winter.’
      • ‘Life for Britain's miners may have been hard, brutal and, in too many cases, short.’
      • ‘If Dakota winters were brutal under shelter, out in the open they could be deadly.’
      • ‘A great many fishermen perished at sea, especially during the brutal winter season.’
      • ‘Northern Europe has been hit by intense winter storms and brutal cold.’
      • ‘Almost four centuries ago, the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast to thank God after suffering through a brutal winter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He hated the brutal Chicago winter and longed for home; he didn't do well in cold weather, never had.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After this brutal winter, make sure to take some time and enjoy the summer here.’
      • ‘After this brutal winter, golfers and superintendents alike are itching to get back on course, eager to see what a new season holds.’
    2. 1.2Direct and lacking any attempt to disguise unpleasantness.
      ‘the brutal honesty of his observations’
      • ‘Some weblogs, with their lacerating, brutal honesty, transport you to the extremities of human experience.’
      • ‘But such brutal accountability is hard to find in the public sphere.’
      • ‘His answer was brutal, harsher than he had ever meant.’
      • ‘The delicate and decorative character of his poetry does not lend itself to direct and brutal statement.’
      • ‘Not my best, I await harsh brutal truths from my bandmates.’
      • ‘Joseph loves these hard, pat, brutal chunks of wisdom.’
      • ‘Do it in a harsh, brutal way, in broad daylight with live TV coverage.’
      • ‘It can be more accurately described as an uncomfortable viewing experience - but that's because it tells a brutal and uncomfortable story.’
      • ‘Accept the advice in the spirit it is given, which is brutal honesty.’
      • ‘I'm sorry, I know that these are uncomfortable, even brutal questions, but they must be asked.’
      • ‘Sometimes brutal honesty is the best briefing any leader can receive.’
      • ‘And New York, in all its brutal honesty, will continue to be hated by those who envy its forthrightness.’
      • ‘The author has shown brutal honesty and hilarious wit in putting her thoughts and experiences into print.’
      • ‘Yet the accompanying depiction of Louise's confused emotions towards him are incisive and brutal in their honesty.’
      • ‘I think you are brutally honest and that's something I admire in a person, even when that brutal honesty is aimed at me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Frank writes with brutal honesty of his confusion as to why his son joined and his fears for John's safety as a Marine.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These diarised moments of brutal honesty, twinned with hesitant uncertainty, are typical of Woolf's swings between self-doubt and dogged ambition.’
      unsparing, unstinting, unadorned, unembellished, unvarnished, bald, naked, stark, blunt, direct, straight, straightforward, frank, outspoken, forthright, plain-spoken
      View synonyms



/ˈbro͞odl/ /ˈbrudl/


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).