1. An animal other than a human; a beast.
2. A brutal, crude, or insensitive person.
1. Of or relating to animals other than humans: "None of the brute creation requires more than food and shelter" (Henry David Thoreau).
2. Characteristic of a brute, especially:
a. Entirely physical: brute force.
b. Lacking or showing a lack of reason or intelligence: a brute impulse.
c. Savage; cruel: brute coercion.
d. Unremittingly severe: was driven to steal food through brute necessity.
3. Coarse; brutish.
[From Middle English, nonhuman, from Old French brut, from Latin brūtus, stupid; see gwerə-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.