A domestic bovine animal—sometimes used spec as a euphem for a bull.
1824 in 1852 Cherokee Nation Laws 43 OK, Any person or persons skinning a cow brute and keeping it concealed, shall pay twice the value of the hide, to the owner of the brute so skinned. 1843 Prairie Farmer 3.270 IL, I never saw a brute have the hollow horn bad without all these symptoms. 1870 IL State Ag. Soc. Trans. 7.223 swMO, [Letter:] I have been dealing in cattle all the time since 1861, and in the time did not lose a brute until the past summer. 1892 Smith Farm & Fireside 55 nwGA, They [=a pair of oxen] just went a kiting. . . The darkey and Ralph come a running as fast as they could to get ahead of the brutes, and that made ’em worse. 1913 Kephart Highlanders 295 sAppalachians, Critter and beast are usually restricted to horse and mule, and brute to a bovine. A bull or boar is not to be mentioned as such in mixed company, but male-brute and male-hog are used as euphemisms. 1939 AmSp 14.89 eTN, Brute. Bull. ‘I’m skeered of that brute.’ 1939 LANE Map 190 (Bull) 1 inf, eME coast, [Euphemistic terms:] Brute, beast, gentleman cow, male critter. 1949 Arnow Hunter’s Horn 97 KY, I allus say ‘brute’ at school in class, but . . th agriculture book it says ‘bull.’ 1956 Hall Coll. eTN, The law was to build it [=a fence] five rails high, and if a cow brute broke over that and hit five rails high, the owner of the brute had to pay for the damage, but if it was under that, the damage was his loss. 1965–70 DARE (Qu. K22, . . A bull) Infs AZ15, AR4, NC30, Brute; GA72, KY29, Stock brute; MO37, Big old brute; NC30, He-brute; (Qu. K23, Words used by women or in mixed company for a bull) Infs KY23, MO32, NC30, TX40, Brute; KY46, Cow brute; KY29, Male brute. 1975 Appalachian Jrl. 2.155 nwNC, A brute was a cow.