\ ˈbras \

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

The conversation around Hamilton is certainly one that warrants serious discussion from the top Reds brass. Patrick Brennan,, "Cincinnati Reds notes: Billy Hamilton will continue to bat ninth, Jim Riggleman says," 23 Apr. 2018 But in a meeting Monday evening with military brass meant to focus on his options for attacking Syria, Trump unleashed on the Cohen raid. Pamela Brown, CNN, "Trump considering firing Rosenstein to check Mueller," 10 Apr. 2018 In their new neighborhood, Gerard played the happy divorcé, in a blue blazer with brass buttons, driving a Mercedes-Benz. Stephen Metcalf, The Atlantic, "Jean-Michel Basquiat Is Still an Enigma," 24 June 2018 Addressing the brass gathered to soberly assess the world situation with rage at federal investigators isn’t a good sign. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Syrians Pay for Trump’s Anger at Investigators?," 10 Apr. 2018 The more quarterbacks chosen in the top five of this quarterback-rich draft, the better off the Colts will be. The Colts’ brass has been surprisingly open about this subject. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: What I learned about who the Colts will select in the NFL draft," 27 Mar. 2018 As winter can do, the piece turned more violent with aggressive string work and low notes from the brass. Matthew J. Palm,, " closes out first season in fine form," 23 Mar. 2018 The top brass, as well as the non-insider employees, must meet certain financial targets in order to collect their bonuses. Lillian Rizzo, WSJ, "Sears Proposes Bonus Package for Top Executives," 19 Nov. 2018 The Google brass, backed into a corner, offered an official (if muted) endorsement of the event. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Google walkout offers a playbook for successful corporate protests," 2 Nov. 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

24 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brass

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

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More Definitions for brass


\ ˈbras \

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

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