Definition of brass hat in English:

brass hat


  • A high-ranking officer in the armed forces.

    ‘military brass hats proudly handed out scores of prizes’
    • ‘Oh, brass hats might complain about items that should be deserved rather than dispensed.’
    • ‘The brass hats are furious that an operational matter should be kicked around like a football across the House of Commons chamber.’
    • ‘Political brass hats attending the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Queensland, Australia, naturally assumed they were receiving the sharpest, tightest security possible.’
    • ‘They are basically trading casualties one-for-one with the regime loyalists which, as any brass hat will tell you, ain't no way to win at counter-insurgency.’
    • ‘A small state with limited resources cannot afford to feed the army of bureaucrats and brass hats of the police.’


Late 19th century: so named because of the gilt insignia on the caps of such officers.