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brush someone off
1. Lit. to remove something, such as dust or lint, from someone by brushing. The bathroom attendant brushed Mr. Harris off and was rewarded with a small tip. The porter had never brushed off such a miserly man before.
2. Fig. to reject someone; to dismiss someone. (As if someone were mere lint.) He brushed her off, telling her she had no appointment. He brushed off Mrs. Franklin, who was only trying to be nice to him.
brush something off someone or somethingand brush something off
to remove something from someone or something by brushing. I brushed a little lint off her collar. I brushed off the lint that was on her collar.
brush off somebody/somethingalso brush somebody/something off
to not accept someone or something as being important When she told me my project would be a better television film than a feature film, I thought she was brushing me off. But the prime minister brushed off that criticism, saying it was just talk.
Etymology: based on the literal meaning of brush something off (to remove something from a surface by moving your hand quickly over it)
Dismiss or rebuff, as in Roberta brushed off the poor reviews with a shrug, or You can't brush off a boyfriend and expect him to do you a favor. This expression, transferring sweeping off crumbs to a curt dismissal, was first recorded about 1820. However, it became common usage only in the 1930s. Also see give someone the air (brush off).
1. To remove something from a surface by brushing: Brush off those crumbs from the breakfast table! There's some dust on the desk, but I'll just brush it off.
2. To clean or clear some surface by brushing it: Would you please brush off the picnic table?
3. To dismiss someone or something rudely: The store owner rudely brushed off the customer who wanted a refund. I'm mad that you brushed me off when I tried to make a helpful suggestion.