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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 or pronoun can be used between "brush" and "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 or pronoun can be used between "brush" and "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 can be 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.


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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
But lovers are warned to give BLUE the brush-off. It can dampen the most ardent sex drive.
She gives him the brush-off, but Dennis just believes it's her way of keeping him keen.
Dr David Nicholls, a neurologist at City Hospital, is among 120 medics who signed a letter condemning Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, claiming she gave the "brush-off" to a request that a team visit the US jail in Cuba to check on the condition of the inmates.
James Beattie may feel he has a grouse with Sven-Goran Eriksson for his England brush-off. The truth is that Beattie floundered, just as his former Southampton team-mate Kevin Phillips did when he got the call.
A Fair City insider said: "After the the brush-off, she ended up on a bender and tonight she sees Niamh and Rory flirting in the corner it's the last straw.
FISHERMEN last night accused Donald Dewar of giving them the brush-off when they complained about territory being taken over by England.
Barbara Windsor gets a little brush-off - sorry, that's brush UP - before Albert Square's wedding of the year.
Big Weekend headliners The Kooks got the brush-off last week on Kylie's X2008 opening night in Paris.
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.
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 ...
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.
First he got dumped by Frankie and now Maria's giving him the brush-off. Charlie and Liam go head to head again tonight when Charlie warns him to back off Maria and leave her alone, but as Liam is taller, better looking and has more stubble, he's not exactly quaking in his boots.
BRUSH-OFF: Elle has a messy mop' HAIRDO: Elle's usual immaculately-styled look' Picture: DENNIS STONE
Barbara, 60, had just bought the blue emulsion at B&Q when she got the brush-off and instead of a 30p bus ride she was forced to pay pounds 3.70 for a taxi.
But their families deserve more than an official brush-off and talk of administrative mix-up.