John is so brash. / Don't be brash.

Hello everyone,

The Oxford dictionary defines "brash" as "self-assertive in a rude, noisy, or overbearing way". Besides this Oxford definition, I've seen all others available on the Web, but still can't understand (visualize) how to use "brash" in practice. My question: Does "brash" sound natural/correct in the examples I made below?

a. John is so brash. He asked me out on a date in front of my boyfriend.
b. Don't be brash. I am here talking to your father about a serious problem (and you know it) and you come into the room, start listening to our conversation and laugh like that? Get back to your room! You're grounded.

Thank you in advance!
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't think of "brash" as being that negative a word. In a. it simply suggests that John is daring or bold, and b. doesn't work for me at all.

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Brash" is pretty negative for me.
    A. doesn't really work for me. He's not brash in this context. If we consider his behaviour here to be not merely daring or bold, but rude too, we might say "John is so brazen."
    B. doesn't work for me at all.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    This may be an interesting difference between AmE and BrE, because in BrE I think of "brash" as always being very negative.

    To me "brash" means "tactless/tasteless/offensive/loud/aggressive/cocky". You can also have "brash" colours.
    brash Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
    Brash definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

    I notice that Merriam-Webster uses "brash" in several ways which I wouldn't, and so some of those variations may explain why The Newt has a more positive view of the word.
    Definition of BRASH

    I agree that in A, John is being "brazen", although I think he could be bordering on "brash" depending on how he did it. e.g. John said in a loud and showy manner while publicly opening his wallet, "What are you doing going out with him? He's old enough to be your father! What you want is a real man who knows how to treat a lady properly. How about I take you out to The Olive Grove in town, for the finest meal money can buy. I know them all there, and we can have a bottle of their best wine. You just need someone who'll treat you right, not like this old Scrooge!". [Hopefully, that gives you some idea of what a "brash" person is, at least to this BrE speaker. :)]

    B. Doesn't work for me because the person is just being cheeky/rude/tactless, but there also needs to be an element of "aggression/offensiveness/tastelessness".