brush off

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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

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.
See also: brush, off

brush something off someone or something

 and 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.
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.

brush off

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).
See also: brush, off

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.
See also: brush, off
References in periodicals archive ?
Second baseman Jeff Kent, the Dodgers' only other All-Star, brushed off Perez's comments as having been spoken out of frustration, the same frustration the rest of the Dodgers feel after going 40-48 for the first half.
But she was happy to be snapped with us once we'd brushed off a creepy-looking, cross-eyed man and boring Bubble, who were both loitering nearby.
Brushed off, Weiss does everything he can to undermine Hanson's deal.
Bush aides brushed off the defeat as "a bump in the road".
Just this little gnat to be brushed off on the way to more serious battles.
Baptist of North Hills junior forward took a deep breath, brushed off her uniform and continued to use her speed to frustrate the Campbell Hall defense.
Hahn himself brushed off the pay-to-play investigations and abuse of power linked to his administration by saying he wished it would ``fade away so we can focus on real issues.
Hahn has brushed off all criticism, saying, ``It's the people of the city who were benefiting from this.
Valenzuela has brushed off reports that he was bitter about his release at the end of spring training in 1991; the Angels signed him shortly thereafter, and he also pitched for Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego and St.
Simon's attorneys, who also attended the news conference, brushed off the accusations.
The Cowboys could have wilted as they did a year ago when injuries began mounting, but with Vaughn and Maria setting a tone defensively, Canyon brushed off the adversity.
Ortiz brushed off Rodriguez's homer quickly, giving up just four hits in 6 2/3 innings to lead the Angels to a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers before 15,619.
McCarron - rider of Santa Anita Derby winners Dinard (1991), Cavonnier ('96) and The Deputy (2000) - brushed off the issue of Came Home's stamina.
But when he tries to get the obsessive CIA agent Brandt (Elias Koteas) in charge of the case to do something justicelike about it, Gordy's brushed off.