To browbeat is to intimidate with language. Picture yourself in a police station. The cops are trying to get you to talk by using tough, even abusive, language. They are browbeating you.

When someone browbeats you, they're giving you a beating with their mouth and their mind. If your parents have to browbeat you into cleaning your room, they nag you, yell at you and they may even make fun of you and your bad cleaning habits. While the word brow means forehead, think that they're using their head, or brow, to beat you down. It's a figurative, rather than a literal, beating.

Definitions of browbeat
  1. verb
    discourage or frighten with threats or a domineering manner; intimidate
    synonyms: bully, swagger
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    type of:
    blarney, cajole, coax, inveigle, palaver, sweet-talk, wheedle
    influence or urge by gentle urging, caressing, or flattering
  2. verb
    be bossy towards
    synonyms: ballyrag, boss around, bully, bullyrag, hector, push around, strong-arm
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    domineer, tyrannise, tyrannize
    rule or exercise power over (somebody) in a cruel and autocratic manner
    type of:
    make timid or fearful
Word Family
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