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deep, serious absorption in thought:
Lost in a brown study, she was oblivious to the noise.
Historical Examples

The Damnation of Theron Ware Harold Frederic
The Copper Princess Kirk Munroe
The Positive Outcome of Philosophy Joseph Dietzgen
Hildebrand Anonymous
Tom Sawyer, Detective Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
The Coryston Family Mrs. Humphry Ward
Harper’s Young People, January 25, 1881 Various
The Monikins J. Fenimore Cooper

a mood of deep absorption or thoughtfulness; reverie


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  • Brown-study–in-a

    Daydreaming or deeply contemplative, as in Margaret sits in the library, in a brown study. This term dates from the late 1500s, and although by then in a study had long meant “lost in thought,” the reason for adding brown is unclear. Moreover, the present idiom also is ambiguous, some holding that it denotes genuine […]

  • Brown-sugar

    unrefined or partially refined sugar that retains some molasses. a commercial product consisting of white, refined sugar to which molasses has been added. Slang. brownish-colored heroin manufactured illicitly in Mexico. Historical Examples The Old Tobacco Shop William Bowen The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight Opened Kenelm Digby noun sugar that is unrefined or only […]

  • Brown-swiss

    one of a breed of brownish dairy cattle raised originally in Switzerland.

  • Brown-tail-moth

    a white moth, Nygmia phaerrhoea, having a brown tuft at the end of the abdomen, the larvae of which feed on the foliage of various shade and fruit trees. Historical Examples Natural Wonders Edwin Tenney Brewster noun a small brown-and-white European moth, Euproctis phaeorrhoea, naturalized in the eastern US where it causes damage to shade […]

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