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give (someone) the brush-off

To reject, snub, ignore, or rebuff someone. 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

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

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


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
References in periodicals archive ?
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.
Early's office had given him the brushoff during a telephone conversation Feb.
The city has just been giving us the brushoff as usual.
Some of its more sketch-comedy bits fall flat, but there's always something dead-on-target around the corner, as these kids speak with the exaggerated bluntness that the minimal decorum of high school in truth managed to hide: "We're more used to being liked," says Judy, ready to give Kim the brushoff, since it's what the in-crowd demands.
then wrote to the president of the World Bank, complaining that the response was "a brushoff and an insult.
Ron Johnson, the union's lead bargainer, expressed disappointment at the commissioners' brushoff of binding arbitration.
But when employers give the quick brushoff to young blacks and other young American workers that are willing to take lower-end jobs, they send the not-so-subtle message that these workers are not wanted or welcome.