\ 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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But if that happens, police brass may not feel that the mayor will have their back, given her statements supporting the occupation. Fox News, "Experts fear reclaiming Seattle 'CHOP' zone is daunting task," 23 June 2020 The hardware in the great room is satin brass or Lucite, and the same goes for the hardware on the bedside tables in the bedroom. Lennie Omalza, The Courier-Journal, "This custom 1-bed luxury condo in Louisville features elegant touches in open, airy space," 19 June 2020 Federal officials in December 2014 laid out its findings, which included numerous instances of officers using excessive force and of police brass not holding cops responsible for wrongdoing. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Police reforms touted by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine mirror many underway in Cleveland through consent decree," 17 June 2020 The figure goes up to 0.2% for executives making 200% of the company’s median salary for local workers, and upward to 1% of gross receipts when top brass makes 1,000 times the median. Dominic Fracassa,, "SF proposal to tax companies with high-paid execs heads to November ballot," 16 June 2020 But inside the communal apartments is a world of dank spaces with dangling wires, sepia-colored sinks, peeling wallpaper, and strange smells, but sporting high ceilings and original 19th-century moldings, brass fixtures, and parquet floors. Andrew E. Kramer,, "Too close for comfort, and the virus, in Russia’s communal apartments," 13 June 2020 On May 31, a group of protesters gathered in Linn Park dismantled the brass cast of Charles Linn, a captain in the Confederate Navy, from its base. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Confederates toppled, Columbus beheaded: Protesters are ripping down controversial statues," 12 June 2020 James Bennet resigned under pressure as editorial pages editor, and the New York Times top brass posted a lengthy apology. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Summertime, and Cotton is high: Arkansas Republican's fortunes soar after New York Times dust-up," 10 June 2020 The graceful palms—which Jews call Hands of Miriam and Muslims know as Hands of Fatima—are rendered in brass, tin, enamel, and other materials. National Geographic, "From evil eyes to sacred hearts, a look at lucky charms around the world," 9 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for brass

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for brass

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brass.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for brass


How to pronounce brass (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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