When you're dwelling on something, you're brooding about it — this can be thoughtful or morbidly obsessed.

When you're brooding, you might be depressed about something you just can't stop thinking about — like the lead character in Hamlet. Brooding can also mean you're being extremely thoughtful, contemplative, meditative, musing, reflective, or ruminative — those are all good things. You have to look at the context to see if someone is brooding in a positive or negative way. This is also a word for what chickens and other egg-laying animals do: sitting on eggs to help them hatch.

Definitions of brooding
  1. adjective
    deeply or seriously thoughtful
    “Byron lives on not only in his poetry, but also in his creation of the 'Byronic hero' - the persona of a brooding melancholy young man”
    synonyms: broody, contemplative, meditative, musing, pensive, pondering, reflective, ruminative
    exhibiting or characterized by careful thought
  2. noun
    persistent morbid meditation on a problem
    synonyms: pensiveness
    see moresee less
    type of:
    a feeling of thoughtful sadness
  3. noun
    sitting on eggs so as to hatch them by the warmth of the body
    synonyms: incubation
    see moresee less
    type of:
    birth, birthing, giving birth, parturition
    the process of giving birth
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week