Use the noun brush when you want to refer to a quick, light touch. If you are comforting someone you don't know well, you can give their arm a quick brush to show sympathy.

The noun brush can refer to a thick growth of scrub vegetation. You'll have to clear away the brush if you want to plant a garden there. As a verb, brush can mean to sweep, either literally or metaphorically. You can brush the dirt from the floor, but you can't just brush away your past misdeeds. The verb also means to touch lightly. If you are baking and you brush your hand across your cheek, chances are you'll leave a trail of flour there.

Definitions of brush
  1. noun
    an implement that has hairs or bristles firmly set into a handle
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    a cylindrical brush on a thin shaft that is used to clean bottles
    bristle brush
    a brush that is made with the short stiff hairs of an animal or plant
    a brush used for cleaning clothing
    a brush used to groom a person's hair
    a brush used to clean a person's fingernails
    a brush used as an applicator (to apply paint)
    sable, sable brush, sable's hair pencil
    an artist's brush made of sable hairs
    scrub brush, scrubber, scrubbing brush
    a brush with short stiff bristles for heavy cleaning
    shaving brush
    a brush used to apply lather prior to shaving
    small brush; has long handle; used to clean teeth
    electric toothbrush
    a toothbrush with an electric motor in the handle that vibrates the head of the brush
    rigger, rigger brush
    a long slender pointed sable brush used by artists
    type of:
    instrumentation (a piece of equipment or tool) used to effect an end
  2. noun
    a bushy tail or part of a bushy tail (especially of the fox)
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    type of:
    the posterior part of the body of a vertebrate especially when elongated and extending beyond the trunk or main part of the body
  3. noun
    the act of brushing your teeth
    “the dentist recommended two brushes a day”
    synonyms: brushing
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    type of:
    dental care
    care for the teeth
  4. noun
    the act of brushing your hair
    “he gave his hair a quick brush
    synonyms: brushing
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    type of:
    hair care, haircare, hairdressing
    care for the hair: the activity of washing or cutting or curling or arranging the hair
  5. verb
    rub with a brush, or as if with a brush
    “Johnson brushed the hairs from his jacket”
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    type of:
    move over something with pressure
  6. verb
    clean with a brush
    “She brushed the suit before hanging it back into the closet”
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    type of:
    clean, make clean
    make clean by removing dirt, filth, or unwanted substances from
  7. verb
    remove with or as if with a brush
    brush away the crumbs”
    brush the dust from the jacket”
    brush aside the objections”
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    type of:
    remove, take, take away, withdraw
    remove something concrete, as by lifting, pushing, or taking off, or remove something abstract
  8. verb
    cover by brushing
    brush the bread with melted butter”
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    type of:
    provide with a covering or cause to be covered
  9. noun
    contact with something dangerous or undesirable
    “I had a brush with danger on my way to work”
    “he tried to avoid any brushes with the police”
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    type of:
    close interaction
  10. noun
    momentary contact
    synonyms: light touch
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    type of:
    touch, touching
    the event of something coming in contact with the body
  11. noun
    a minor short-term fight
    synonyms: clash, encounter, skirmish
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    an awkward clash
    type of:
    combat, fight, fighting, scrap
    the act of fighting; any contest or struggle
  12. verb
    touch lightly and briefly
    “He brushed the wall lightly”
    sweep across or over
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    crease, graze, rake
    scrape gently
    touch or hit with a light, quick blow
    touch the surface of lightly
    type of:
    make physical contact with, come in contact with
  13. verb
    sweep across or over
    “Her long skirt brushed the floor”
    synonyms: sweep
    sail, sweep
    move with sweeping, effortless, gliding motions
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    type of:
    move so as to change position, perform a nontranslational motion
  14. noun
    conducts current between rotating and stationary parts of a generator or motor
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    type of:
    electrical device
    a device that produces or is powered by electricity
  15. noun
    a dense growth of bushes
    synonyms: brushwood, coppice, copse, thicket
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    an area thickly overgrown usually with one kind of plant
    a dense growth of cane (especially giant cane)
    a copse that shelters game
    underbrush, undergrowth, underwood
    the brush (small trees and bushes and ferns etc.) growing beneath taller trees in a wood or forest
    ground cover, groundcover
    small plants other than saplings growing on a forest floor
    type of:
    botany, flora, vegetation
    all the plant life in a particular region or period
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