In a word: bruit

March 26, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word:

BRUIT

An old word in English, dating from the fifteenth century, bruit (pronounced BROOT) was originally a noun meaning "noise," "clamor," "rumor," "tidings," or "reputation." It survives as a verb, meaning to "spread news widely," "repeat," "report rumor." It is commonly a phrasal verb, combining with abroad or about

Because of its association with rumor, bruiting about tends to carry a mildly unsavory tinge.

English incorporated it wholesale from the French bruit, "noise," which derived from the verb bruire, "to roar."

Examples. In Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 1: "I finde that thou art no lesse than Fame hath bruited."

In Dickens's Barnaby Rudge: "The intelligence of his capture having been bruited abroad ..."


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