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 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. © 2022 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


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.

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.
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 ?
Edward Johns Lower Stock Car crime victims given the brush-off I AM shocked at the pro-rata high number of friends or people they know who are victims of their cars being stolen or damaged.
Ministers have insisted the police should be left to investigate and Ms May wrote to Mr Goldsmith giving him the brush-off.
After he rudely gives her the brush-off yet again tonight, Alice is still certain that she's the only person who really and truly understands him.
1992 Schoolboy Michael Stott was given the brush-off by angry teachers.
Valencia has been holding out for the move for five months since Sir Alex Ferguson showed an interest and the Wigan man has given Real Madrid the brush-off to ensure his Old Trafford dream comes true.
Then if, say, an experienced politician is trying to give you the brush-off, you need to be forceful."
DEGANWY residents have given DIY the brush-off, according to research from George Wimpey North West.
I would be interested to hear from a council spokesman responsible for this stupidity, as they cannot give us the brush-off now.
I've been going through a hard time myself lately but, when I rang her one night, on the verge of tears, I got the brush-off because she was off out to visit someone else.
Even if your friends stop giving you the brush-off and the three of you start hanging out again, it's cool to have other awesome people in your life.
"It begins with screenwriters and producers who shy away from gay-oriented projects, knowing they will receive the brush-off."
TONY Blair is backing a charity for the heart condition he suffered - after previously giving it the brush-off.
Calista Flockhart is smouldering after getting the brush-off in a Hollywood cafe.
The double Olympic champion was given the brush-off when he met Rhymes, 40, on the same flight and asked for a picture so he could tweet it to his 755,000 followers.
Taylor Swift - Red MY favourite guilty pleasure doesn't make life easy for herself - if the 22-year-old is not falling for one rascal (be it John Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal or Taylor Lautner), she's being given the brush-off by another, without naming any names.