Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Chiefly Northeastern U.S. See creek. See Regional Note at run.
  • transitive v. To put up with; tolerate: We will brook no further argument.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To use; enjoy; have the full employment of.
  • v. To earn; deserve.
  • v. To bear; endure; support; put up with; tolerate (usually used in the negative, with an abstract noun as object).
  • n. a body of running water smaller than a river; a small stream.
  • n. a water meadow.
  • n. low, marshy ground.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A natural stream of water smaller than a river or creek.
  • transitive v. To use; to enjoy.
  • transitive v. To bear; to endure; to put up with; to tolerate.
  • transitive v. To deserve; to earn.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A natural stream of water, too small to be called a river.
  • To draw together and threaten rain: said of the clouds: with up.
  • To use; enjoy; have the full employment of.
  • . To earn; deserve.
  • To bear; endure; support; put up with: always in a negative sense.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. put up with something or somebody unpleasant
  • n. a natural stream of water smaller than a river (and often a tributary of a river)

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English brōc.
Middle English brouken, from Old English brūcan, to use, enjoy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English brouken ("to use, enjoy"), from Old English brūcan ("to enjoy, brook, use, possess, partake of, spend"), from Proto-Germanic *brūkanan (“to enjoy, use”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrūg- (“to enjoy”). Cognate with Scots brook, brouk ("to use, enjoy"), West Frisian brûke ("to use"), Dutch bruiken ("to use"), German brauchen ("to need, require, use"), Norwegian bruke ("to use"), Latin fruor ("enjoy"). Related to fruit. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English, from Old English brōc ("brook, stream, torrent"), from Proto-Germanic *brōkaz (“stream”), from Proto-Indo-European *mrāǵ- (“silt, slime”). Cognate with Dutch broek ("marsh, swamp"), German Bruch ("marsh"), Ancient Greek βράγος (brágos, "shallows") and Albanian bërrak ("swampy soil"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • "Off on pressing business," cried the sanguine youth, as he dashed through the kitchen, frightening Alice, and throwing Toozle into convulsions of delight, -- "horribly important business, that 'won't brook delay;' but what _brook_ means is more than I can guess."

    Gascoyne, The Sandal-Wood Trader A Tale of the Pacific

  • "Off on pressing business," cried the sanguine youth, as he dashed through the kitchen, frightening Alice, and throwing Toozle into convulsions of delight -- "horribly important business that ` won't brook delay; 'but what _brook_ means is more than I can guess."

    Gascoyne, the Sandal-Wood Trader

  • They must go straight over it, till they come to cleared land on the other side; then they must keep along by the edge of the wood, to the right, till they come to the brook; they must _cross the brook_, and follow up the opposite bank, and they'll know the ground when they come to it; or they don't deserve to.

    Queechy, Volume I

  • The sound of the mountain brook gives an illusion of rain drops,

    Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan

  • This rain, falling on land five, ten, a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand feet above the sea level, begins to run back to the sea, picking out the easiest road and cutting a channel that we call a brook, a stream, or a river.

    Electricity for the farm Light, heat and power by inexpensive methods from the water wheel or farm engine

  • Here, Sam – just bend on this hook for me, while I see how the brook is further up.

    Melbourne House

  • "No one cares for me, though I think the brook is sometimes sorry, and tries to tell me things."

    Little Saint Elizabeth, and Other Stories

  • As the dried-up brook is to the caravan, so are ye to me, namely, a nothing; ye might as well not be in existence [Umbreit].

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • The word brook was probably lost in the first generation.

    The Hoosier Schoolmaster

  • He is the only Indian in the country, who ever dared to chastise a white man, in his own camp; and had not the partisans of the hunter interfered, his soul at that time would have taken its flight to eternity; for the high spirited trapper could not brook from the haughty

    Life in the Rocky Mountains

Comments

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  • its meaning has gone from 'to enjoy' to 'to tolerate'

    September 8, 2009

  • I like brook as a verb. And as a noun, it is fine. However, it just occured to me why I always think a brook should be still, like a pond.

    Fishy, fishy in the brook
    Pappa catch you on a hook
    Mamma fry you in a pan
    Baby eat you like a man.

    I always imaged the brook in the rhyme to be a body of still water. Babbling brook just sounds *wrong* to me.

    July 10, 2007

  • I like brook as a verb, but not as a noun, as in a babbling brook. The two meanings have separate etymologies, so this isn't inconsistent.

    July 10, 2007

  • brook to tolerate is the meaning: but also to flow easily?? (but not silently but with white noise)

    December 27, 2006

  • Is brooking sent the same as not brooking dissent? But not to worry, I brook all kinds of things around here.

    December 27, 2006

  • I quite like this word as a verb -- as in sentences like "John will brook no dissent around here." (Not true.)

    December 27, 2006