Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for April 7, 2021 is:

brusque • BRUSK  • adjective

1 : markedly short and abrupt

2 : blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness


“‘Where are you getting all this?’ Dinah asked, drawing startled or disapproving glances from a few who worried that she was being too brusque with the boss. ‘It’s only been, what, four hours?'” — Neal Stephenson, Seveneves, 2015

“Archaeologists look down on him because of his working-class background, and his brusque manner hasn’t won him many friends. He doesn’t argue with those he disagrees with; he just walks away.” — Dan Lybarger, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 19 Feb. 2021

Did you know?

We borrowed brusque from French in the 1600s. The French, in turn, had borrowed it from Italian, where it was spelled brusco and meant “tart.” And the Italian term came from bruscus, the Medieval Latin name for butcher’s-broom, a shrub whose bristly leaf-like twigs have long been used for making brooms. English speakers initially used brusque to refer to a tartness in wine, but the word soon came to denote a harsh and stiff manner, which is just what you might expect of a word bristling with associations to stiff, scratchy brooms.

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