Definition of brass in English:

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Pronunciation: /bras/


1A yellow alloy of copper and zinc: [as modifier]: a brass plate on the door
More example sentences
  • Bronze is made with tin added to copper and brass has zinc in the alloy.
  • Two of the oldest and most widely used of all alloys, bronze and brass, also contain copper.
  • Some of the more important metal alloys were gold, brass, bronze and pewter.
1.1A decorative object made of brass: shining brasses stood on the mantelpiece
More example sentences
  • The last side plate is an angular brass specimen decorated with an incised standard.
  • It retains its original brasses, finials, and decorative carving.
  • The dominant decorative feature is the array of ornate brasses with pierced backplates.
1.2A memorial, typically medieval, consisting of a flat piece of inscribed brass, laid in the floor or set into the wall of a church.
Example sentences
  • His widow's stone bears a memorial brass inscribed with Latin verses but is otherwise unmarked.
  • Inside fittings again testify to the town's religious life in the Middle Ages, notably the twenty stalls for the members of Chichele College at the east end of the north aisle and an unusual number of medieval monumental brasses.
  • A ‘pudding-basin’ cut, often seen on memorial brasses, shows hair thick but clear of the ears, probably to assist in cushioning the helmet.
1.3A brass block or die used for stamping a design on a book binding.
Example sentences
  • The collection also features a set of scales from the old factory, and an original brass butter stamp
1.4British informal Money: they wanted to spend their newly acquired brass
More example sentences
  • The old pro there kind of takes a liking to the kid, gives him a brass.
1.5 Music Brass wind instruments (including trumpet, horn, trombone) forming a band or a section of an orchestra: the brass and percussion were consistently too loud
More example sentences
  • The brass section of an orchestra typically consists of trumpets, horns, trombones, and tubas.
  • We harmonize like the brass section of a band, and we need discipline to do that type of music.
  • The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is a noteworthy example, its playing characterized by dark woodwinds and brasses that impart a dreamlike, veiled quality suggesting the mellow patina of old silver.
1.6 (also top brass) informal People in authority or of high military rank.
Example sentences
  • After an outcry from the military brass and heavy attacks in the media, he reversed himself two days later.
  • The New York Times reports that, for decades, the military brass has assured the locals that underground storage of these weapons was perfectly safe.
  • A little long winded, but the speech was punctuated with a lot of applause, which suggested that a lot of the military brass in attendance support him.
1.7 informal A person’s hardness or effrontery: he was the only one who had the brass to show his face
More example sentences
  • This week the General's campaign headquarters charged that business men who had had the brass to support his campaign openly had paid dearly for their pains.
  • I would love to speak with the person who had the brass to even try this stunt.
  • Antonio was by himself down there, figuring that if no one else had the brass to fish there, it was open season.


the brass ring

North American informal A prize or goal that someone strives for: Willa went for the brass ring, joining the firm at a whopping salary
With reference to the reward of a free ride given on a merry-go-round to the person hooking a brass ring suspended over the horses
More example sentences
  • And one would think that with sound geologic reasoning, a willingness to work, and the periodic influx of new money, someone smaller and leaner would periodically slip a finger through the brass ring of success.
  • But if its scrabble for identity lacks inspiration, its glossy finish sparkles enough to suggest that the brass ring of mainstream success isn't entirely out of this young band's reach.
  • After all, the Chicks haven't exactly hidden the fact that they went for the brass ring, and unashamedly enjoy their success.


Old English bræs, of unknown origin.

Words that rhyme with brass

carse, class, coup de grâce, farce, glass, grass, Grasse, impasse, Kars, kick-ass, kvass, Laplace, Maas, Madras, outclass, pass, sparse, stained glass, surpass, upper class, volte-face

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: brass

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