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Avoid these words. Seriously.

brass tacks

noun, Informal.
the most fundamental considerations; essentials; realities (usually used in the phrase get down to brass tacks).
Origin of brass tacks
First recorded in 1895-1900 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brass tacks
Historical Examples
  • We'll dismiss the details as trivial and get down to brass tacks.

  • I'll come out of it all right and get down to brass tacks again.

    The Straw Eugene O'Neill
  • You will like "brass tacks" if you like to get somewhere and get there quickly.

    Evening Round Up

    William Crosbie Hunter
  • Before you and I were born it was long-established and it was established on brass tacks.

  • We've got to come alive and forget these ideas and get down to brass tacks.

    El Diablo Brayton Norton
  • He had a chief engineer that was brass tacks from beginning to end.

    The Modern Railroad Edward Hungerford
  • I guess that'll hold them for a while, if it comes down to brass tacks!

    Darkness and Dawn George Allan England
  • Paula made a practice of calling them the pair of “brass tacks.”

  • But when it came down to brass tacks, they lacked a witness.

  • I guess if it comes down to brass tacks, my words as good as yours.

British Dictionary definitions for brass tacks

brass tacks

plural noun
(informal) basic realities; hard facts (esp in the phrase get down to brass tacks)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for brass tacks

brass tacks

Related Terms

down to brass tacks

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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