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a reddish-brown sandstone, used extensively as a building material.
Also called brownstone front. a building, especially a row house, fronted with this stone.
Archaic. belonging or pertaining to the well-to-do class.
Contemporary Examples

Buddy Can You Spare Ten Grand? Noah Kristula-Green February 28, 2012
Spike Lee Blasts The New York Times’ Story on Brooklyn Gentrification in Fiery Op-Ed Marlow Stern March 30, 2014
Martin Amis Talks About Nazis, Novels, and Cute Babies Ronald K. Fried October 8, 2014
As Sandy Heads for NYC, Brooklyn Locals Jog, Ogle—and Get Drunk Eliza Shapiro October 28, 2012
Lena Dunham’s Improv Night at the Upright Citizens Brigade Marlow Stern March 3, 2013

Historical Examples

Phyllis Dorothy Whitehill
Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
Whispers at Dawn Roy J. Snell
The Secret Wireless Lewis E. Theiss
Turn About Eleanor Ethel M. Kelley

noun (US)
a reddish-brown iron-rich sandstone used for building
a house built of or faced with this stone


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    a person who lives in or owns a brownstone house.

  • Brown-study

    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, […]

  • 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 […]

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