- any of various metal alloys consisting mainly of copper and zinc.
- a utensil, ornament, or other article made of such an alloy.
- metallic yellow; lemon, amber, or reddish yellow.
- high-ranking military officers.
- any very important officials.
- Informal. excessive self-assurance; impudence; effrontery.
- Machinery. a replaceable semicylindrical shell, usually of bronze, used with another such to line a bearing; a half bushing.
- British. a memorial tablet or plaque, often incised with an effigy, coat of arms, or the like.
- Furniture. any piece of ornamental or functional hardware, as a drawer pull, made of brass.
- British Slang. money.
- of, made of, or pertaining to brass.
- composed for or using musical instruments made of brass.
- having the color brass.
Origin of brass
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for brass
So maybe we should take a lesson from women with brass ovaries: comedy and feminism are longstanding bedfellows.Comedians and Feminism Getting Laughs
October 23, 2014
At BeyondVape there is a board where people can record their last tobacco cigarette in brass, a way of committing to vaping.This Is Your E-Cigarette on Drugs
July 28, 2014
The whole town was in a drunken reverie, singing and dancing to brass bands with the tribal beat of the Basques.Is This Hemingway’s Pamplona or a Lot of Bull?
July 13, 2014
The Riveters boast capos (chant leaders), tifos (giant club-support banners), drums, brass, and flags.Portland Is Ground Zero for the Best Women’s Soccer in the World
June 30, 2014
Ted tugged at the brass buttons of her red, wool-crepe dress.‘Tracing the Blue Light’: Read Chapter 1 of Eileen Cronin’s ‘Mermaid’
April 8, 2014
I will go further, and admit that the brass plates may not all be frauds.A Treatise on Parents and Children
George Bernard Shaw
The visitor's advent was announced again by the brass knocker on the front door.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
To effect a change of ownership with the candid concomitance of a brass band.The Devil's Dictionary
Will you give us each a bracelet of brass as well as the rifles?The Monster Men
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Kirkwood smiled grimly, with a face of brass, impenetrable, inflexible.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
- an alloy of copper and zinc containing more than 50 per cent of copper. Alpha brass (containing less than 35 per cent of zinc) is used for most engineering materials requiring forging, pressing, etc Alpha-beta brass (35–45 per cent zinc) is used for hot working and extrusion. Beta brass (45–50 per cent zinc) is used for castings. Small amounts of other metals, such as lead or tin, may be addedCompare bronze (def. 1)
- an object, ornament, or utensil made of brass
- the large family of wind instruments including the trumpet, trombone, French horn, etc, each consisting of a brass tube blown directly by means of a cup- or funnel-shaped mouthpiece
- (sometimes functioning as plural)instruments of this family forming a section in an orchestra
- (as modifier)a brass ensemble
- a renewable sleeve or bored semicylindrical shell made of brass or bronze, used as a liner for a bearing
- (functioning as plural) informal important or high-ranking officials, esp military officersthe top brass See also brass hat
- Northern English dialect moneywhere there's muck, there's brass!
- British an engraved brass memorial tablet or plaque, set in the wall or floor of a church
- informal bold self-confidence; cheek; nervehe had the brass to ask for more time
- slang a prostitute
- (modifier) of, consisting of, or relating to brass or brass instrumentsa brass ornament; a brass band
Word Origin and History for brass
Old English bræs "brass, bronze," originally in reference to an alloy of copper and tin (now bronze), later and in modern use an alloy of two parts copper, one part zinc. A mystery word, with no known cognates beyond English. Perhaps akin to French brasser "to brew," because it is an alloy. It also has been compared to Old Swedish brasa "fire," but no sure connection can be made. Yet another theory connects it with Latin ferrum "iron," itself of obscure origin.
As brass was unknown in antiquity, use of the word in Bible translations, etc., likely means "bronze." The Romans were the first to deliberately make it. Words for "brass" in other languages (e.g. German Messing, Old English mæsling, French laiton, Italian ottone) also tend to be difficult to explain.
The meaning "effrontery, impudence" is from 1620s. Slang sense of "high officials" is first recorded 1899. The brass tacks that you get down to (1897) probably are the ones used to measure cloth on the counter of a dry goods store, suggesting precision. Slang brass balls "toughness, courage" (emphatically combining two metaphors for the same thing) attested by 1960s.
- A yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, usually 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc. It sometimes includes small amounts of other metals. Brass is strong, ductile, and resistant to many forms of corrosion.