Definitions

from The American HeritageĀ® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A state of deep thought.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A melancholy mood accompanied by deep thought; a moody daydream.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. a state of mental abstraction or serious reverie.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a state of deep absorption or thoughtfulness

Etymologies

brown, gloomy + study, mental state.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From obsolete brownĀ ("gloomy") and study. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • I found him over head and ears in a brown study. What is the matter, my friend? said I, seemingly there is something upon your mind.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 5 ch. 1

    September 19, 2008