What Does To Brush Over Something Mean?

Brush Over Something Meaning

Definition: To skim something; to overlook something from a lack of attentiveness.

If you brush over something, you are simply skimming it. You are not giving it the due diligence it needs, which may cause you to overlook it.

If you were to barely brush a paintbrush over a wall, the paint would not fully coat the wall, and it would not be evenly deposited. Likewise, if you brush over something in thought or action, you are not doing enough to fully complete it.

Origin of To Brush Over Something

No one is certain from where this idiom originates. Some say it relates to phrases like brush off, however, and most of the phrases involving the word brush were first recorded in the early 1800s.

over brushingThe phrase brush over could have evolved from the phrase brush off, which can sometimes mean to put something off or avoid a task. This phrase, however, has multiple other uses as well.

Examples of To Brush Over Something

You can brush over something in action or thought.

meaning of brushing overFor example, if you were to lightly touch something with your fingertips, you would be brushing over it. This is a literal sense.

You may also brush over thoughts. For example, if you brush over comments that someone else has made, you are ignoring his or her ideas and pushing them aside. This is a figurative sense.


To brush over something is to give it very light attention.