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brush off

1. verb Literally, to remove something by applying a sweeping stroke to it or the surface it's on, typically with one's hand. In this usage, a noun can be used between "brush" and "off" or after "off." Be sure to brush off that chair before you sit down. I stood up and brushed the crumbs off my shirt.
2. verb To casually, unexpectedly, or brusquely dismiss or ignore someone or something. In this usage, a noun can be used between "brush" and "off" or after "off." You can't just brush off the students' questions—they deserve answers. I haven't heard back from that company, so I guess they're brushing my complaint off.
3. verb To deflect or ignore something in order to remain unaffected by it. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is typically used between "brush" and "off." If you're going to write for a major publication, you need to be able to brush off criticism. So you made an error—just brush it off and try to do better next inning.
4. noun The act of casually, unexpectedly, or brusquely dismissing or ignoring someone or something. In this usage, the phrase is usually hyphenated. Be honest and tell John that you're not interested in dating anymore—don't just give him the brush-off. I haven't heard back from that company, so I guess my complaint is getting the brush-off.
See also: brush, off


Fig. rejection; being cast aside and ignored. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) Don't talk to Tom. He'll just give you the brush-off. I went up to her and asked for a date, but I got the brush-off.
References in periodicals archive ?
Starr's report outlines how Clinton, 52, gave Lewinsky the brush-off by saying he tried to cut down on women.
NOEL Edmonds made Swap Shop essential viewing for kids in the 70s but the BBC has given him the brush-off in a new series of the show.
I CAN share with you how heartbreaking it is when the husband you love so much gives you the brush-off, especially if he makes no effort to talk about it.
FISHERMEN last night accused Donald Dewar of giving them the brush-off when they complained about territory being taken over by England.
First he got dumped by Frankie and now Maria's giving him the brush-off.
Baywatch beauty Donna D'Errico has a cheeky brush-off for randy guys who shout and wolf-whistle at her as she's walking down the street .
Gwyneth, 30, famously gave Col the brush-off at LA's Ivy restaurant.
A COUNCIL has given its boss the brush-off and will now spend his salary on five road sweepers.