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What is the diffence between brusque and curt?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Curt usually refers specifically to speech, while brusque is more general, referring to manner and behavior as well as speech. Also, a "curt reply" is a bit more rude than a brusque one.

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It's a very small difference, but I think a curt reply is intentionally rude, while with a brusque reply, the rudeness is incidental. Thus, it's easier to invent a Polyanna-type excuse for the brusque response than the curt one. –  Marthaª Dec 3 '10 at 18:03

Curt can be emotionally neutral. Brusque displays some animosity.

The definitions are pretty close though.

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+1 I agree with this answer. The words are synonyms in many situations. Brusque may (but does not always) imply some emotion. –  Noldorin Dec 3 '10 at 23:11
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I dunno. I think brusque implies a certain selfish disregard for the proprieties, i.e. it's oriented inwards. Curt, on the other hand, is more outward-oriented. I wouldn't assign more animosity to "brusque" than to "curt"; if anything, I'd put it the other way around. -- I think the moral of the story is, context is everything. –  Marthaª Dec 3 '10 at 23:24

Curt, not brusque, suggests possible animosity. Brusque people are in a hurry, often to attend to business. Curt people brook no dissent.

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