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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

give (one) the brush-off

To reject, snub, ignore, or rebuff one. I thought Rebecca was a good friend until she gave me the brush-off at a party last weekend. Teachers have accused local politicians of giving them the brush-off regarding proposed cuts to pensions and school funding.
See also: give
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


n. a dismissal; an act of ignoring someone. (see also give someone the brushoff.) I got the brushoff, but I can take it.

give someone the brushoff

tv. to repel someone; to ignore someone. (see also brushoff.) The manager gave her the brushoff when she asked for a raise.
See also: brushoff, give, someone
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
I made complaints to the hospital but I felt like I was being given the brushoff. It was like they all closed ranks.
Herman said no one ever gave him the brushoff. In fact, many often took the time to talk with him, and some even obliged with an autograph or posed for a photograph.
Now that Bushehr is almost done, Kiriyenko is the one doing the brushoff. Has he decided that now is the time to play hard-to-get, given that no other country that can build nuclear reactors will build any in Iran?
In the first semifinal, Part gave Kevin 'The Artist' Painter the brushoff and hoisted the Maple Leaf high above Muswell Hill with a 6-2 demolition of the man who dethroned champion Raymond van Barneveld.
BRAVE shopkeeper Rashpal Mattu told today how he gave a gun-wielding robber the brushoff by battering him with a broom.
Although Riedel is considered too important to be given the brushoff, Wadler and the rimes' Boldface Names writers have found themselves left off legit party lists.
Splicing conviction with con artistry, the vividly local with the cosmically global, a too-ready empathy with the brutal brushoff, ever eager to trade in someone for everyone and evade firm definition, Clinton plays like the representative of a new American psychological species, a personality type for which the media are not only a means of transmission or expression but a model of being.
Simply put, the public is giving the press the royal brushoff the folks think we're out of touch with what's on their minds, that we're too superficial and, consequently, too often just plain wrong.
Cooper Doe and Leo Saenger, 10-year-old fifth-graders from Eugene's Camas Ridge Elementary School, got the brushoff that New York Times and CNN reporters are accustomed to when they tried to get an interview with President Obama during his trip to Portland Wednesday night.
EMC indicated the initial brushoff wasn't a deal-killer and said they were looking forward to further discussions with Iomega.
Tube bomb victim Rachel North reacted angrily to Mr Blair's brushoff last night.
And the play takes a still more preposterous--not to mention distasteful--turn when Jim and Fred begin plotting to kill Barbara (Kate Blumberg), who threatens Jim with blackmail when he tries to give her the brushoff.
The brushoff was just another example, Hamill wrote, of the gaping canyon between big-budget players and the fans who fill stadium seats.
A case in point is the brushoff given author Salman Rushdie last week, orchestrated by the State Department and the White House.
The review says an aide to Blagojevich tried to contact someone with the authority to speak for Obama; the approach was met with a brushoff.