Definition of brass in English:



  • 1A yellow alloy of copper and zinc.

    [as modifier] ‘a brass plate on the door’
    • ‘The most famous were copper and brass plates held by the town of Tuckabatchee.’
    • ‘Bronze is made with tin added to copper and brass has zinc in the alloy.’
    • ‘It is such a soft and pliable metal that it needs to be alloyed with other metals, into brass or bronze, before it can be used for a structural purpose.’
    • ‘Gold, silver, copper and brass have all been used to make these materials.’
    • ‘Two of the oldest and most widely used of all alloys, bronze and brass, also contain copper.’
    • ‘Also remember that brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, and the reaction will still take place.’
    • ‘A nuisance associated with hydrogen sulfide includes its corrosiveness to metals such as iron, steel, copper and brass.’
    • ‘Mounted directly on the polycarbonate shade, the rings are available in anodized aluminium, matt brass, copper or stainless steel.’
    • ‘However, there are a great number of alloys in aluminum, brass, and stainless steel, and doubtless there are also different resistances for many.’
    • ‘He described the ratios between the densities of gold, mercury, lead, silver, bronze, copper, brass, iron, and tin.’
    • ‘In India, Tamils are known for their handmade silk saris, pottery figures of various gods, bronze work, and brass and copper inlaid with silver.’
    • ‘Some of the more important metal alloys were gold, brass, bronze and pewter.’
    • ‘The element was probably most widely used and best known in the form of brass, an alloy of zinc and copper.’
    • ‘After the War he brought up bronze, copper and brass from the island's many wrecks, at a time when these metals were in short supply.’
    • ‘The tulips and hearts theme continues throughout the house in wood carvings and stained glass, and even in beautiful brass and copper door plates.’
    • ‘The crude drawer handles made at Byrdcliffe of wrought iron, brass, and copper have retained their original dull surface.’
    • ‘Stainless steel, brass, and other metals also are options.’
    • ‘The company plans to produce mild steel, stainless steel, aluminium, copper and brass on the site.’
    • ‘An exciting crafts show of brass, copper and bronze artefacts is on at The Heritage until April 16.’
    • ‘Nearly all were made of electroplated brass, copper, or nickel silver (a white metal alloy).’
    rudeness, insolence, impoliteness, unmannerliness, bad manners, lack of civility, discourtesy, discourteousness, disrespectfulness, incivility
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    1. 1.1A decorative object made of brass.
      ‘shining brasses stood on the mantelpiece’
      • ‘Internally there is a stunning collection of wool merchants' brasses.’
      • ‘It retains not only its original octagonal stamped English brasses and ivory escutcheons but also most of its gray-blue paper drawer and cupboard lining.’
      • ‘She said that the house was falling into filth and decay, the ironing overflowed the laundry baskets, the brasses were dull, the shopping had to be done, food provided, dishes put away, the lawn to be mowed, and the windows washed.’
      • ‘Most antique furniture can suffer as a result of extremes in temperature, especially painted and lacquered examples and those inlaid with marquetry, brass or ivory decoration.’
      • ‘If things went well, at the beginning of the week, the four crew would be doing all the work, explaining what we did as we went along, from putting up sails to navigating, polishing the brasses, building weather charts and making the tea.’
      • ‘It retains its original brasses, finials, and decorative carving.’
      • ‘They were prepared to take the brasses off the door, to take the door off the hinges, and flog the lot.’
      • ‘The last side plate is an angular brass specimen decorated with an incised standard.’
      • ‘It retains its original Birmingham-type brass bail brasses; indeed, they and the side handles may well have been its most expensive components.’
      • ‘Its massive size, elegant blockfront facade, extensive use of mahogany large plates of mirror glass, and imported brasses made this an expensive and no doubt valued piece.’
      • ‘Between the windows is a cherry bonnet-top chest-on-chest, about 1760-1780, with its original brasses.’
      • ‘The brasses, with the exception of the side handles, were replaced.’
      • ‘Norma said: ‘We look to firms in Heywood for our ropes, brasses and other fittings.’’
      • ‘For example, Aucissa brooches from France and Britain and identical brooches from Israel are all pure brasses.’
      • ‘All the chased and engraved brasses on the high chest are original, whereas those on the dressing table are replacements.’
      • ‘Scarring confirms that it originally had bail brasses.’
      • ‘Under magnification, the vintage photograph revealed a series of dark markings on the drawer fronts that suggested a set of brasses earlier than the neoclassical ones, which led to a careful study of the drawer fronts themselves.’
      • ‘Then we went down to the pub at the corner of the road, a nice cosy oak-walled place filled with medics and rich old boys amid the gleam of mirrors and brasses.’
      • ‘The dominant decorative feature is the array of ornate brasses with pierced backplates.’
      memorial tablet, plate, stone plate, metal plate, tablet, panel, sign, brass, medallion, plaquette, cartouche
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    2. 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.
      • ‘A ‘pudding-basin’ cut, often seen on memorial brasses, shows hair thick but clear of the ears, probably to assist in cushioning the helmet.’
      • ‘The tabernacle, sanctuary lamp and all brasses have been cleaned, polished and lacquered in both Mulranny and Tiernaur churches.’
      • ‘The simplest brasses were inscribed with the name of the deceased.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The church brasses were embedded in the floor, and in June 2002, thieves prised up six figures and took them away.’
      • ‘His widow's stone bears a memorial brass inscribed with Latin verses but is otherwise unmarked.’
      • ‘Before and after the Reformation the families of the deceased commemorated them by erecting tombs bearing brasses or sculptures or placed elaborate gravestones in churchyards.’
      • ‘Visits to churches and castles with his father alerted him to aspects of ecclesiastical and secular iconography, in particular medieval paving tiles, monumental brasses, and heraldry.’
      • ‘It was a centre of cultural production, as we call it, where they made tombs and brasses and all kinds of statuary and things like that, because they were near the cathedral.’
      • ‘Unless protected, medieval brasses are pitted by their droppings, as are tomb slabs.’
      monument, shrine, mausoleum, cenotaph
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    3. 1.3A brass block or die used for stamping a design on a book binding.
      • ‘The collection also features a set of scales from the old factory, and an original brass butter stamp’
    4. 1.4British informal Money.
      ‘they wanted to spend their newly acquired brass’
      • ‘The old pro there kind of takes a liking to the kid, gives him a brass.’
      money, wealth, funds, cash, hard cash, wherewithal, means, assets, liquid assets, capital, resources, reserves, deep pockets
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    5. 1.5Music Brass wind instruments (including trumpet, horn, trombone) forming a band or a section of an orchestra.
      ‘the brass and percussion were consistently too loud’
      • ‘This is also as good a place as any to mention the playing of the Kirov Orchestra: wonderful winds and brasses were only a part of the glories they had to offer, with excellent string playing - in short, everything one could want.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I sat enthralled at the harmony of the strings, brasses, winds and percussion.’
    6. 1.6informal People in authority or of high military rank.
      • ‘The guerrilla war may be annoying, and deadly, but it is also, the brass tells us, militarily insignificant.’
      • ‘But all he has done so far is alienate the military brass, defense industry execs, and Congress.’
      • ‘Once in office, he quickly moved to finalise the accord, in order to end the legal cases and protect the military brass.’
      • ‘Unless the military brass feels comfortable that certain sectors of the industry remain competitive, it has the ability to quash the deal.’
      • ‘The search to uncover the truth leads to confrontation with the military top brass.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There have been rumblings of a military coup, although the military brass is not anxious to assume power under conditions of economic catastrophe.’
      • ‘The New York Times reports that, for decades, the military brass has assured the locals that underground storage of these weapons was perfectly safe.’
      • ‘The matter was settled in the summits of the Wellington Convention in which the Treaty of Vecca was signed by the top brasses.’
      • ‘As a veteran officer and the most experienced congressional figure in defense appropriations, he enjoys the closest ties with the military brass.’
      • ‘It is not an official diplomatic conference, but all the top brass and political bigwigs can be found there.’
      • ‘The military brass insisted that the only way to reduce the term of service for conscripts to one year would be to draft twice as many men as it does at present.’
      • ‘After an outcry from the military brass and heavy attacks in the media, he reversed himself two days later.’
      • ‘On the other hand the military brass were very interested in the information we gathered from our first contact.’
      • ‘Yet he is silent on how the military brass (including himself) responded to the horrors.’
      • ‘This was a president who consulted opinion polls at every turn and who was cowed by the military brass.’
      • ‘This is another indication that the methods have the tacit support of the military brass.’
      • ‘We are supposed to believe that he is an expert on Russia with a unique power of insight needed by the military top brass.’
      • ‘After all, the military brass appears to be spending in other areas.’
      • ‘Army brass appears concerned about the breadth of such resistance.’
      celebrity, famous person, very important person, personality, name, big name, famous name, household name, star, superstar, celebutante, leading light, mogul, giant, great, master, king, guru
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    7. 1.7informal A person's hardness or effrontery.
      ‘he was the only one who had the brass to show his face’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They've shown they do have the brass to make such a huge decision willingly and knowingly’
      • ‘An ace newsman must have the brass to ask what are generally called "embarrassing questions."’


  • the brass ring

    • informal A prize or goal that someone strives for.

      ‘Willa went for the brass ring, joining the firm at a whopping salary’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They're too close to grabbing the brass ring to jump off the merry-go-round.’
      • ‘Then again, what if they had sold their souls for the brass ring?’
      • ‘After all, the Chicks haven't exactly hidden the fact that they went for the brass ring, and unashamedly enjoy their success.’
      • ‘Most musicians see Toronto, New York, Paris or London as the brass ring, the point of departure for the proverbial big time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I recognize that there's plenty of chick lit that turns the wedding/husband/baby into the brass ring that every woman's grasping for, but my books don't really fit that paradigm.’
      • ‘If you're going to go for the brass ring, go all out.’
      • ‘Lydia was after the brass ring, and now that she has the brass ring what can she do with it?’
      • ‘There are particular numbers that indicate which championship teams obliterated all contenders and which ones barely snatched the brass ring from their rivals.’
      • ‘Since then, four senators did win presidential nominations, but in each case the brass ring ultimately eluded them.’
      • ‘Ten years ago I was still chasing the brass ring, waiting for my 16th platinum record to happen.’
      • ‘It's time to go for the gold or make a grab for the brass ring (although you'd prefer to exchange it for a nice platinum band with a few tasteful diamonds, thank you).’
      • ‘And while women may long for the brass ring that men have been grasping at for years, many of them are discovering that this is indeed a hollow and shallow pursuit that is not nearly as rewarding as motherhood.’
      • ‘With all this caution and attention focused on our ‘elected’ officials, we have a moment where we can grasp the brass ring of self-government.’
      • ‘The world grew still as we kept company with this serene, focused creature and for just a few minutes I knew that detached awareness, the brass ring of mediation that so often eludes my efforts.’
      • ‘And now, despite a painful history and against all reason, I am once more reaching for the brass ring of a relationship that works.’
      • ‘Another part of the answer is that sometimes we don't go for the brass ring because we compare our qualifications to an ideal standard, instead of to other available candidates.’
      • ‘Now, at the age of 31, he feels time is running out, so he's reaching one more time for the brass ring.’
      • ‘Take some time today to experience a blissful moment and pay attention to how your heart feels - that's the brass ring, the thing that makes everything worthwhile, so savor it and look for lots of ways to bring more of it into your life.’


Old English bræs, of unknown origin.