View synonyms for brass


[ bras, brahs ]


  1. any of various metal alloys consisting mainly of copper and zinc.
  2. a utensil, ornament, or other article made of such an alloy.
  3. Music.
    1. brass instruments collectively in a band or orchestra.
  4. metallic yellow; lemon, amber, or reddish yellow.
  5. Informal.
    1. high-ranking military officers.
    2. any very important officials.
  6. Informal. excessive self-assurance; impudence; effrontery.

    Synonyms: brashness, chutzpa, gall, nerve, cheek

  7. Machinery. a replaceable semicylindrical shell, usually of bronze, used with another such to line a bearing; a half bushing.
  8. British. a memorial tablet or plaque, often incised with an effigy, coat of arms, or the like.
  9. Furniture. any piece of ornamental or functional hardware, as a drawer pull, made of brass.
  10. British Slang. money.


  1. of, made of, or pertaining to brass.
  2. composed for or using musical instruments made of brass.
  3. having the color brass.


/ brɑːs /


  1. See bronze
    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 added Compare bronze
  2. an object, ornament, or utensil made of brass
    1. 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
    2. sometimes functioning as plural instruments of this family forming a section in an orchestra
    3. ( as modifier )

      a brass ensemble

  3. a renewable sleeve or bored semicylindrical shell made of brass or bronze, used as a liner for a bearing
  4. informal.
    functioning as plural important or high-ranking officials, esp military officers See also brass hat

    the top brass

  5. dialect.

    where there's muck, there's brass!

  6. an engraved brass memorial tablet or plaque, set in the wall or floor of a church
  7. informal.
    bold self-confidence; cheek; nerve

    he had the brass to ask for more time

  8. slang.
    a prostitute
  9. modifier of, consisting of, or relating to brass or brass instruments

    a brass band

    a brass ornament


/ brăs /

  1. 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.


  1. Musical instruments traditionally made of brass and played by blowing directly into a small, cup-shaped mouthpiece. They include the French horn , trumpet , trombone , and tuba .

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Other Words From

  • brassish adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of brass1

before 1000; 1945–50 brass fordef 5; Middle English bras, Old English bræs; cognate with Old Frisian bres copper, Middle Low German bras metal

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Word History and Origins

Origin of brass1

Old English bræs ; related to Old Frisian bres copper, Middle Low German bras metal

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Idioms and Phrases

  • bold as brass
  • double in brass
  • get down to brass tacks

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Example Sentences

A small group of vanguard companies have proven that it’s possible for every employee to enjoy the fruits of ownership—for everyone at work to be a self-managing “micropreneur” blessed with autonomy and a shot at the brass ring.

From Fortune

For the previous 28 years of the competition, finalists of Brandstorm have presented their pitches in person to members of the company’s top brass in Paris.

From Digiday

This sprinkler features 20 precision brass nozzles for gentle and even coverage of up to 3,600 square feet.

For the theremin’s 100th anniversary, Moog unveils the gorgeous Claravox Centennial — With a walnut cabinet, brass antennas and a plethora of wonderful knobs and dials, the Claravox looks like it emerged from a prewar recording studio.

With a walnut cabinet, brass antennas and a plethora of wonderful knobs and dials, the Claravox looks like it emerged from a prewar recording studio, as indeed is the intention.

But that project ran into serious hurdles with the network brass.

So maybe we should take a lesson from women with brass ovaries: comedy and feminism are longstanding bedfellows.

But even as he was receiving awards, the military brass was processing his discharge—they had found out he was transgender.

Violation of gravitas is being taken ‘extremely seriously’ by army top brass, source says.

A source said that while the video may be entertaining, the incident is being taken ‘extremely seriously’ by army top brass.

They were provided with sails and twelve oars each, and a falconet, or small brass cannon.

"I wonder if 'twas a brass drum, such as has 'Eblubust Unum' printed on't," said Mrs. Slocum.

Picture frames, nicely moulded in brass, were made here in 1825, by a modeller named Maurice Garvey.

The air was heavy with the perfume of frankincense which smouldered in a brass vessel set upon a tray.

Latten, the term given to thin sheets of brass, was formerly applied to sheets of tinned iron.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.