Meaning of BRASS in English


I. ˈbras, -aa(ə)-, -ai-, -ȧ- noun

( -es )

Etymology: Middle English bras, from Old English bræs; akin to Old Frisian bress copper, Middle Low German bras metal; all from a prehistoric West Germanic word perhaps borrowed from a southwest Asiatic language; akin to the source of Hebrew & Phoenician barzel iron — more at farrier


a. : a usually yellow alloy of copper with zinc or formerly tin and sometimes small amounts of other metals that is malleable and ductile and harder and stronger than copper ; especially : one consisting essentially of 50 to 95 percent copper and 5 to 50 percent zinc — compare bronze , composition metal , latten , tombac , white brass

b. : an article of brass

finely designed brasses


a. or brasses plural : the brass musical instruments

the strings and brass never really got together during the performance

b. slang Britain : money ; especially : cash

c. : a memorial tablet (as of copper and zinc) usually bearing an inscription and a design or picture and fastened to the floor or against the wall of a church or to a gravestone

a student of late Elizabethan brasses

d. : bright metal fittings and equipment (as on a ship) or metal utensils and ornaments (as in a house)

sailors vigorously polishing the brass

e. : a lining or step for a bearing (as on a railroad-car axle) usually in pairs and of brass, bronze, or gunmetal

f. : empty fired cartridge shells

3. : brazen importunity : impudent assurance : shamelessness

the brass to borrow large sums of money

4. : a moderate yellow that is redder and duller than colonial yellow or quince yellow and redder and deeper than mustard yellow — called also brazen yellow


a. : commissioned military officers ; especially : high-ranking officers of the army or air force — compare braid II 3, brass hat

b. : the higher levels of civil administration or business management

the top brass of the industry

II. adjective

Etymology: Middle English bras, from bras, n.

1. : consisting or made of brass

a brass cannon

2. : of the color of brass

a brass sky


a. : loud and resounding : resonant

rich boozy brass voices — Mollie Panter-Downes

b. : made up of or composed for brass instruments

a brass choir

a brass section

III. noun

( plural brasses also brass )

Etymology: French brasse length of the arms, fathom, from Middle French brace two arms, length of two arms — more at brace

: a unit of length equal to a fathom

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.