\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

Even the mail room has panache, with brass fixtures and patterned wallpaper. John King,, "Well-crafted Jackson Square condos rich in design inspiration," 2 July 2018 The winds and brass couldn’t help stepping out in that ensemble and did so wonderfully. Christian Hertzog,, "Mainly Mozart Festival gives Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky first-class treatment," 17 June 2018 Nautical features include large brass lighting fixtures. Terri Akman,, "Old Bayview Motel in Strathmere transformed into family compound," 22 May 2018 In the three heists, 16 brass plumbing fixtures were stolen from toilets and urinals. Jeff Weiner,, "Volusia deputies nab 'bathroom brass bandit' in toilet-fixture thefts," 10 Feb. 2018 Here, the ceiling-height installation makes the tub the star (though the brass fixtures are a close second). Joanna Linberg, Sunset, "10 Ideas for Decorating with Tile," 22 Jan. 2018 These small brass fixtures clamp onto the square, providing an accurate way to mark several identical notches. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build Stairs in 3 Easy Steps," 1 Dec. 2017 Ornate wall moldings and brass lighting fixtures join tufted-leather custom headboards and plush linens, plus hidden cabinetry and neatly tiled marble baths with freestanding tubs and glass showers. Jennifer Fernandez, ELLE Decor, "Be The First To Stay At This Stunning Saratoga Springs Grande Dame Hotel Reborn," 17 Nov. 2017 The Hanging Helix Light from Bec Brittain, in brass and black marble, is equal parts sophistication and playfulness. Tim Gavan, WSJ, "Five Stairways Go From Dull to Dramatic," 13 July 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

15 Oct 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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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