Rub thy brows.

It is of note that Gertrude uses the plural of brow here.

Usually – the brow is the forehead and the most likely part of the body to dab with a handkerchief if one is sweating.

But she says “brows” plural. And the word brows, when it is this plural, usually suggests the eyebrows – as in “that model has her brows done at the local salon.”

Is Gertrude telling Hamlet to rub his eyebrows? Or is she speaking to both fighters suddenly – wishing for Laertes to rub his brow as well?

I doubt that.

It is most likely that she means brow.

And according to my friend ETYMOLOGY online – we get the word brow for forhead from the eyebrows  – that brow meant eyebrow first and expanded to cover the entire forehead in around 1200.

So maybe Gertrude is just a 1200 girl with her “brows.” Also – I’ve just realized as I wrote these words how weird English is – because browse sounds exactly like brows and means something entirely different.


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