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Dr. Goodword
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Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Sep 17, 2005 11:37 pm

• brusque •

Pronunciation: brêskHear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Blunt, huffy, rudely short or curt.

Notes: The most common error related to this word is, of course, its spelling. Don't drop your guard and write brusk—that went out in the 17th century. Another tender area is the comparative forms. Because this word has only one syllable, we would expect its comparative and superlative forms to end on -er and -est. However, the tide of writers is turning to more brusque and most brusque. At this point it is your choice but in this case we like the direction of the tide. Brusquely is the adjective and brusqueness, the noun.

In Play: Brusqueness is a quick directness that is mildly offensive: "When I asked her who dyes her hair, she brusquely showed me the door." You have probably encountered situations like this: "Her brusque demeanor left me thinking that she was a person of some importance."

Word History: Today's Good Word is French brusque "lively, fierce" borrowed from Italian brusco "coarse, rough". The Italian word is a hand-me-down from Late Latin bruscum, which some believe is a blend of brucus "heather" and ruscus "butcher's broom".
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Brazilian dude
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Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Sep 18, 2005 8:37 am

Maybe it's my Romance background, but I do prefer using more and most to -er and -est. It's just more easy. :wink:

Brazilian dude, who hasn't swallowed grotesquer and grotesquest yet.
Languages rule!

M. Henri Day
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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Sep 20, 2005 4:03 pm

With respect to that «butcher's broom» mentioned by Dr Goodword as figuring in the etymology of «brusque», it is interesting to note that giving someone «the brush off» is one example of brusqueness. Not quite the whisking one used to get at the barbershop after a shave and a haircut....


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