Idioms

    at the double, British Informal. on the double.
    double in brass, Informal. to serve in two capacities; be able to do work different from one's own: It is a small firm, and everyone doubles in brass when emergencies arise.
    double or nothing, a bet having as its outcome either the doubling of a previous loss or debt or the canceling of that loss or debt.Also double or quits.
    on the double, Informal.
    1. without delay; rapidly: The fire engines came on the double.
    2. in double time, as marching troops.

Origin of double

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin duplus, equivalent to du(o) two + -plus -fold
Related formsdou·ble·ness, noundou·bler, nounqua·si-dou·ble, adjectivequa·si-dou·b·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for double in brass

double

adjective (usually prenominal)

as much again in size, strength, number, etca double portion
composed of two equal or similar parts; in a pair; twofolda double egg cup
designed for two usersa double room
folded in two; composed of two layersdouble paper
stooping; bent over
having two aspects or existing in two different ways; ambiguousa double meaning
false, deceitful, or hypocriticala double life
(of flowers) having more than the normal number of petals
maths
  1. (of a root) being one of two equal roots of a polynomial equation
  2. (of an integral) having an integrand containing two independent variables requiring two integrations, in each of which one variable is kept constant
music
  1. (of an instrument) sounding an octave lower than the pitch indicated by the notationa double bass
  2. (of time) duple, usually accompanied by the direction alla breve

adverb

twice over; twofold
two together; two at a time (esp in the phrase see double)

noun

twice the number, amount, size, etc
a double measure of spirits, such as whisky or brandy
a duplicate or counterpart, esp a person who closely resembles another; understudy
a wraith or ghostly apparition that is the exact counterpart of a living person; doppelgänger
a sharp turn, esp a return on one's own tracks
an evasive shift or artifice; trick
an actor who plays two parts in one play
bridge a call that increases certain scoring points if the last preceding bid becomes the contract
billiards snooker a strike in which the object ball is struck so as to make it rebound against the cushion to an opposite pocket
a bet on two horses in different races in which any winnings from the horse in the first race are placed on the horse in the later race
(often capital) mainly RC Church one of the higher-ranking feasts on which the antiphons are recited both before and after the psalms
music an ornamented variation in 16th and 17th century music
Also called: double time a pace of twice the normal marching speed
tennis See double fault
  1. the narrow outermost ring on a dartboard
  2. a hit on this ring
at the double or on the double
  1. at twice normal marching speed
  2. quickly or immediately

verb

to make or become twice as much
to bend or fold (material, a bandage, etc)
(tr sometimes foll by up) to clench (a fist)
(tr; often foll by together or up) to join or couplehe doubled up the team
(tr) to repeat exactly; copy
(intr) to play two parts or serve two roles
(intr) to turn sharply; follow a winding course
nautical to sail around (a headland or other point)
music
  1. to duplicate (a voice or instrumental part) either in unison or at the octave above or below it
  2. (intr usually foll by on)to be capable of performing (upon an instrument additional to one's normal one)the third trumpeter doubles on cornet
bridge to make a call that will double certain scoring points if the preceding bid becomes the contract
billiards snooker to cause (a ball) to rebound or (of a ball) to rebound from a cushion across or up or down the table
chess
  1. to cause two pawns of the same colour to be on the same file
  2. to place both rooks of the same colour on the same rank or the same file
(intr foll by for) to act as substitute (for an actor or actress)
(intr) to go or march at twice the normal speed
Derived Formsdoubleness, noundoubler, noun

Word Origin for double

C13: from Old French, from Latin duplus twofold, from duo two + -plus -fold
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

Word Origin and History for double in brass

double

adj.

early 13c., from Old French doble (10c.) "double, two-fold; two-faced, deceitful," from Latin duplus "twofold, twich as much" from duo "two" (see two) + -plus "more" (see plus). Double standard attested by 1951. Military double time (1833) originally was 130 steps per minute.

double

v.

late 13c., "make double," from Old French dobler, from Latin duplare, from duplus (see double (adj.)). Meaning "to work as, in addition to one's regular job" is c.1920, circus slang, from performers who also played in the band. Related: Doubled; doubling. To double up bodily is from 1814.

A blow on the stomach "doubles up" the boxer, and occasions that gasping and crowing which sufficiently indicate the cause of the injury .... [Donald Walker, "Defensive Exercises," 1840]

double

n.

mid-14c., "amount twice as great," also "duplicate copy," from double (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with double in brass

double in brass

Serve in two capacities, as in In this company everyone is asked to double in brass occasionally. This expression was originally used in the traveling circus, where, for example, a clown was also expected to play an instrument in the street parade. The original allusion, however, is to an instrumentalist who plays more than one instrument in an ensemble, a practice particularly common among players of brass instruments. [Late 1800s]

double

In addition to the idioms beginning with double

  • double back
  • double bill
  • double cross
  • double date
  • double Dutch
  • double duty
  • double feature
  • double in brass
  • double life
  • double standard
  • double take, do a
  • double talk
  • double up

also see:

  • lead a double life
  • on the double
  • see double
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.