I cannot tell the fine differences between the synonyms brusque and blunt.

Blunt suggests lack of polish and of regard for the feelings of others.
Brusque connotes sharpness and abruptness of speech or manner.

However, the definition of blunt also includes "abrupt in address or manner". Does this mean that brusque is simply a more precise adjective that carries a subset of the meaning of blunt?

  • 6
    I've always viewed "blunt" as meaning direct and not inclined to "sugar coat" anything. Whereas "brusque" to me implies being dismissive and not taking the time to, eg, explain why a decision was made.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 12, 2015 at 3:26
  • 1
    Second Hot Lick's comment: to me at least, 'brusque' also suggests brief, whereas 'blunt' can be any length.
    – Glasseyed
    Jul 13, 2015 at 0:37

2 Answers 2


Being rude comes to mind when I hear brusque and rude may be sharp, and pointed. Blunt is defined by its dullness.

It goes to intent, like objective and subjective are different. Blunt may simply be facts, while brusque involves an implied shortness, or impatience.


He spoke brusquely/bluntly.

Brusquely describes how you deliver your comment (abruptly, tersely, briskly, peremptorily, offhandedly, rudely ...(OED))

antonym - politely, verbosely (Google)

Bluntly describes the character of your comment (without ceremony or delicacy; abrupt, curt, to the point, frank, candid, direct, bluff, undiplomatic, indelicate, ...(OED))

antonym - subtly, tactfully (Google)

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