What Does Brush Aside Mean?

Brush Aside Meaning

Definition: To move out of the way; to ignore; to get rid of something.

If you brush something aside, you are putting it out of your way and ignoring it. This phrase is related to the idiom to brush someone off.

If you brush something aside, you do not think it is important or worth your time. There are also some cases where you may brush something aside unintentionally, and you realize that you need to return to that thing and give it more attention.

Origin of To Brush Aside

brushed asideThere is not a definite origin story for this idiom. It is related to the phrases to brush something away and to brush off, which mean largely the same thing.

This phrase probably comes from the actual physical action of brushing dirt or grime off of things. If you were to see dirt on your clothing, you would quickly brush it off to get rid of it to be clean again.

Likewise, if you brush something aside, you are pushing it away from you and ignoring it, so that you can focus on ideas of importance to you again.

Examples of To Brush Aside

brush something asidePeople may feel resentment if they are brushed aside. For example, an intern who wants to help out may feel as if her bosses have brushed her aside if she is only allowed to buy coffee for them instead of doing more.

Another intern at a company may not be considered for permanent hire because he brushes aside tasks that are given to him. He does not take seriously what is asked of him.

You may also brush aside things in a positive manner. For example, you can brush aside worries and fears, leaving you feeling more confident and joyous.

More Examples

  • But Williams brushed aside those final wishes, allegedly using her phony documents to claim his body from St. Luke’s Hospital. –New York Post
  • So far Russia has not joined the campaign against the militants and has avoided direct involvement in the fight. Asked Friday about that possibility, Putin brushed it aside. –LA Times


If you brush something aside, you don’t think it’s important.