1. An instrument composed of bristles, or other like material, set in a suitable back or handle, as of wood, bone, or ivory, and used for various purposes, as in removing dust from clothes, laying on colours, etc. Brushes have different shapes and names according to their use; as, clothes brush, paint brush, tooth brush, etc.
2. The bushy tail of a fox.
3. (Science: zoology) a tuft of hair on the mandibles.
4. Branches of trees lopped off; brushwood.
5. A thicket of shrubs or small trees; the shrubs and small trees in a wood; underbrush.
6. (Science: physics) a bundle of flexible wires or thin plates of metal, used to conduct an electrical current to or from the commutator of a dynamo, electric motor, or similar apparatus.
7. The act of brushing; as, to give one’s clothes a brush; a rubbing or grazing with a quick motion; a light touch; as, we got a brush from the wheel as it passed. leaves have with one winters brush fell from their boughts. (Shak)
8. A skirmish; a slight encounter; a shock or collision; as, to have a brush with an enemy. Let grow thy sinews till their knots be strong, And tempt not yet the brushes of the war. (Shak)
9. A short contest, or trial, of speed. Let us enjoy a brush across the country. (Cornhill Mag) electrical brush, a form of the electric discharge characterised by a brushlike appearance of luminous rays diverging from an electrified body.
Origin: oe. Brusche, OF. Broche, broce, brosse, brushwood, f. Brosse brush, LL. Brustia, bruscia, fr. OHG. Brusta, brust, bristle, g. Borste bristle, burste brush. See bristle, and cf. Browse.