\ 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

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Examples of brass in a Sentence


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the military brass has been unwilling to accept terms that don’t include a joint council led primarily by military officers. Julia Steers, WSJ, "Brutal Sudanese Militia Leader Plays a Bigger Role in War-Torn Nation," 20 June 2019 And the Texans brass may not be on the most solid of footing, what with O’Brien’s 1-3 playoff record in five seasons, and Gaine getting fired after 16 months. Ben Volin,, "The real story in the Patriots-Texans clash: Nick Caserio wants out," 17 June 2019 Next moves Cowboys brass was pleased with Cooper’s 2018 introduction and production. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "'Three steps ahead': How Cowboys' Amari Cooper leverages chess, Rubik’s Cube to outwit defenders," 9 June 2019 Police brass were aware of the harassment and discrimination but largely did nothing about it, the suit alleges. Eric Heisig,, "Gay Cleveland police officer sues, says he endured harassment by fellow cops," 4 June 2019 Loyal critics proclaimed it a triumph—from its opening stately melody on the cellos, the searing funeral march, the frenetic, disorienting scherzo, through to the final reiteration of the heroic theme on the brass. National Geographic, "How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic," 24 Apr. 2019 Even so, making the Air Force ready for startup culture is not as easy as inviting the brass and leaving the uniforms at home. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Disrupting the Pentagon: Can the Air Force Learn To Love Startup Culture?," 12 Apr. 2019 Made of resin and brass and balanced on curlicue legs, the beast is part of a 65-piece home collection. Sarah Medford, WSJ, "Maison & Objet 2019: Best in Show From the Paris Design Fair," 25 Jan. 2019 In the 20th century, blobs appeared in the work of surrealist artists like Joan Miró and Jean Arp, who rendered bulging sculptures in materials like brass and marble. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "Some people feel a tenderness toward bulbous candles and planters. Why?," 21 Dec. 2018

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.

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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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Learn More about brass

Dictionary Entries near brass






brass ankle


Statistics for brass

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for brass

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

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More Definitions for brass



English Language Learners Definition of brass

: a yellow metal that is made by combining copper and zinc
: musical instruments (such as trumpets, trombones, and tubas) that are made of brass
: bright metal objects made of 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on brass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brass

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brass

Spanish Central: Translation of brass

Nglish: Translation of brass for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on brass

What made you want to look up brass? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

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