\ ˈbras How to pronounce brass (audio) \

Definition of brass

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an alloy consisting essentially of copper and zinc in variable proportions
2a : the brass instruments of an orchestra or band often used in plural
b : a usually brass memorial tablet
c : bright metal fittings, utensils, or ornaments
d : empty cartridge shells
3 : brazen self-assurance : gall
4 singular or plural in construction
a : high-ranking members of the military
b : persons in high positions (as in a business or the government)



Definition of brass (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : made of brass a brass cannon — see also brass ring, brass tacks
2 : made up of or composed for brass musical instruments the band's brass section — see also brass band

Examples of brass in a Sentence

Noun a candlestick made of brass The whole orchestra—the strings, percussion, woodwinds, and brass—began to play. The brasses began to play. polishing the brass and the silver
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There aren’t a whole lot of people who have navigated Presidents, Cabinet members and the top military brass into war zones without much advance warning, but two of them join The D.C. Philip Elliott, Time, 30 Apr. 2022 Ward, who’s been a Browns fan his whole life growing up in the Cleveland suburb of Macedonia and starring at Nordonia High, has put his faith in GM Andrew Berry and the other Browns’ top brass in terms of the Watson acquisition. cleveland, 20 Apr. 2022 The all-white military top brass denigrated the Black airmen as ‘incompetent’ to justify the Army’s continued segregationist policies. Ko Lyn Cheang, The Indianapolis Star, 30 Mar. 2022 Executive compensation is always top tier, of course, but the difference now is that consumers are having to take it on the chin while the top brass get wealthier and profit margins get fatter. Allison Morrow, CNN, 28 Mar. 2022 Russia’s top military brass has repeatedly refused to take calls from either the U.S. Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, or the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, the Washington Post reported. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2022 Just this week, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and police top brass touted their case clearance rate amid an increase in violent crime. Chelsea Prince, ajc, 18 Mar. 2022 Ambiguous and contradictory messages by the U.S. top brass would give the totalitarian regime in Beijing an opportunity to take advantage of them. Lianchao Han, National Review, 14 Mar. 2022 Though the proportion of Black police department employees has grown slowly in 10 years, many Black officers were promoted to the city’s top brass as minorities make up a majority of the agency’s supervisors, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Cristóbal Reyes,, 26 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brass.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of brass


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brass


Middle English bras, from Old English bræs; akin to Middle Low German bras metal

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Time Traveler for brass

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The first known use of brass was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Brass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for brass


\ ˈbras How to pronounce brass (audio) \

Kids Definition of brass

1 : an alloy made by combining copper and zinc
2 : the musical instruments of an orchestra or band that are usually made of brass and include the cornets, trumpets, trombones, French horns, and tubas

More from Merriam-Webster on brass

Nglish: Translation of brass for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brass for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about brass


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