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brass ring

noun, Informal.
wealth, success, or a prestigious position considered as a goal or prize:
Few of those who reach for the brass ring of the Presidency achieve it.
the opportunity to try for such a prize.
Origin of brass ring
from the practice of picking a ring from a box while riding a merry-go-round: whoever selected a brass ring received a free ride Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brass ring
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In a few seconds he was going to try and grab the brass ring.

    Out Like a Light Gordon Randall Garrett
  • They are kept in order by an ivory or brass ring (see Fig. 515).

    The Central Eskimo Franz Boas
  • As I placed the lamp globe on its brass ring I glanced covertly at him.

  • But my courage doesn't always ring true, Mate, sometimes it's a brass ring.

    Lady of the Decoration Frances Little
  • He had scarcely done so when the earth opened just before the magician, and discovered a stone with a brass ring fixed in it.

  • For the railroads you are passing through my country, I have not received even so much as a brass ring for the land they occupy.

    Three Years on the Plains Edmund B. Tuttle
  • The brass ball and brass ring shown in Figure 43 are called the expansion ball and ring.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
Idioms and Phrases with brass ring

brass ring

A chance to achieve wealth or success; a prize or reward. For example, “As a businessman he let the brass ring go by too many times. And it got him.” This quotation from the Boston Globe (July 31, 1995) refers to an executive who was forced to resign. The term comes from the practice of giving a free ride to the person who succeeded in picking a ring out of a box while riding a merry-go-round. [ ; late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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