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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a brass band (=a band of brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones)
▪ A brass band was playing in the park.
a brass instrument
▪ The tuba is the deepest of the brass instruments.
brass band
brass knuckles
brass rubbing
▪ a brass rubbing
instrumental/string/brass etc ensemble
top brass
▪ The top brass are coming in from Washington to see how we do things here.
▪ There was the big brass bed with its snowy white sheets, its marshmallow pillows and top-cover of fringed ivory lace.
▪ They were tough-looking Feldgendarmen, military policemen, with big brass plaques on their chests.
▪ When the shrine was full, Kalchu began to pull the cord of the big brass bell hanging above his head.
▪ Nobody answered and, after a few minutes, Doug tried the big brass handle.
▪ Suddenly, up came Miss Stark, bold as brass and dressed in gold foil.
▪ She marched into his big library as bold as brass, and stood in front of his favourite chair.
▪ The charming honeymoon suite has its own gallery and a large double Victorian brass bed.
▪ Anthony's oak coffin had a large brass crucifix on the lid.
▪ It was fitted with large brass sharks and starfish, and was open on two sides.
▪ I glimpsed a large brass bed, more ikons, photographs.
▪ Ashley got more excited over his new bit of stainless steel than Les did with his old brass.
▪ On the counter itself was a bell, the old brass kind on which one banged a button.
▪ She checked the number on the polished brass wall-plaque and knew she had arrived.
▪ The gin palaces are out, polished brass, blaring radios and peaked hats, and they don't care.
▪ But while the upper edges of the thickening cloud were bright as polished brass, underneath they were a sullen purple.
▪ Again the patina is a deep black and contrasts with brightly polished silver, brass and gold inlay decoration.
▪ As well as a beautiful polished brass fire it has central heating, a shower and a flush toilet.
▪ Her hair gleamed like a hastily polished brass pot, its tiny dents reddish brown.
▪ The sun was beating down on rows of glittering white yachts, flashing on aluminium masts and highly polished brass and chrome.
▪ A small brass above a doorbell bore the words: Kristof Laszlo, Photographer.
▪ Every available surface was crowded with small brass souvenirs.
▪ Crafted from hand-forged steel and solid brass, the range covers every style.
▪ Shamrock cup and saucer by Beleek Bestlite 31170 solid brass lamp base with dark green enamelled shade.
▪ The chair, with its folding leg rest, is made of teak and has solid brass fittings.
▪ Made from red cedar, it is double glazed throughout and all opening window fittings are in solid brass.
▪ The zipper and snaps are solid brass.
▪ The prime materials used are solid hardwoods and solid brass.
▪ Holdback finished in white with solid brass leaf highlights, £32.95 per pair; also in brass finish.
▪ More recently, this was made into a luxury hotel for the top brass of the Communist world.
▪ I thought it was military to allow the top brass at home a more direct control.
▪ Have you told the top brass yet?
▪ Would this be because she had something to hide, he wondered, or was she inhibited by her clerical top brass.
▪ It was now necessary to give Klepner visibility in front of Cocello and the top brass.
▪ The only way you kept the top brass in line, reminded them who was the boss.
▪ He saw the top brass one after the other and noted down his reactions and observations.
▪ In high season the village brass band plays regular concerts and there are waterski displays most weeks.
▪ Musical families from all over the borough formed the brass band.
▪ Once a week there is also a brass band concert.
▪ A handsome yet sylvan prospect where you could promenade to the music of brass bands.
▪ Free activities: The brass band gives regular concerts, there are guided walks and even occasional windsurfing regattas!
▪ It was flag bedecked and in front of it a brass band were parading in breeches, green-Loden jackets and cocked hats.
▪ Finding it caused quite a stir in the brass band world.
▪ There was the big brass bed with its snowy white sheets, its marshmallow pillows and top-cover of fringed ivory lace.
▪ There was a shiny brass bed for Melanie with a round-bellied white chamber pot underneath it.
▪ The charming honeymoon suite has its own gallery and a large double Victorian brass bed.
▪ I glimpsed a large brass bed, more ikons, photographs.
▪ You glance over the thick tubes that make up the emperor-size brass bedstead, and smile.
▪ All the other brass fittings, supplied by Chas.
▪ Copper is not usually a natural component of water and is picked up by contact with copper and brass fittings or pipes.
▪ Copper vessels and brass fittings are rapidly attacked under these conditions.
▪ Leather and brass fittings add a touch of luxury.
▪ The chair, with its folding leg rest, is made of teak and has solid brass fittings.
▪ Beryl sat in the back of the car, her large black handbag with brass fittings balanced on her knees.
▪ She broke the seals, inserted a key, turned it, twisted the brass handle, and opened the heavy door.
▪ Its hanging brass handles were damaged and tarnished, its once polished top ruined by years of misuse.
▪ The bell pull had a brass handle polished lovingly to lustre.
▪ Nobody answered and, after a few minutes, Doug tried the big brass handle.
▪ This metal will be of particular interest to readers as early horse brasses were cut from it.
▪ Laughter rattled the horse brasses and echoed in the warming pans.
▪ Even the horse brasses, hung beside the fire, pub trinkets, reassure me.
▪ There were copper kettles and warming pans and horse brasses.
▪ Vibrato, like all flavouring, needs very fastidious use on brass instruments.
▪ It boomed as if the whole house was a resonating chamber for the brass instrument on the door.
▪ Concertos for brass instruments have helped to develop and increase their technical resources.
▪ Percussion Like brass instruments, percussion is best used sparingly and occasionally.
▪ Why doesn't it have a mark on it for absolute brass monkeys?
▪ A simple brass plaque spelt out Brook Advisory Clinic.
▪ They were tough-looking Feldgendarmen, military policemen, with big brass plaques on their chests.
▪ The double plinth features a brass plaque commemorating the 1990 Restoration Project.
▪ I idly noted that a brass plate declared that this bit of garden furniture was sacred to some one's memory.
▪ It had only a very small, hardly noticeable brass plate outside which gave nothing away.
▪ Breeze saw the brass plate from afar, and hurried up the path.
▪ This morning Betty - my cleaner - came in bursting with the news that there was a brass plate outside.
▪ It was only by chance, returning on the other side, that she saw its brass plate.
▪ The light from the oil-lamp shone on the brass plate.
▪ Interestingly the original bank brass plate was discovered in 1983 during drainage excavations in Henley.
▪ He began to make a collection of brass rubbings.
▪ The old dining-room is now a brass rubbing centre and the drawing-room is used for meetings and lectures.
▪ To make brass containing more zinc than this required access to zinc metal.
▪ Wherever he needed metal, he installed parts made of brass.
▪ Compression fittings are made in both brass and gunmetal.
▪ In the early engines, many of the parts, including the cylinder, were made of brass.
▪ He began to make a collection of brass rubbings.
▪ The bed and bedhead are from the same era and are made of brass.
▪ You glance over the thick tubes that make up the emperor-size brass bedstead, and smile.
brass/rhythm/woodwind/string etc section
▪ A brass section blares on trumpet, tenor saxophone and bass sax.
▪ It was in Vegas that Sinatra decided to book Norvo as his opening act and as his regular rhythm section.
▪ Now, drummers like Roy Haynes or Elvin Jones could be heard and studied, not buried in big-band rhythm sections.
▪ The rhythm Section became the stars.
▪ The rhythm section provided a perfect cushion for the soloists, springy and supportive but never obtrusive.
▪ The string section repeatedly cut through his fraught baritone with great sheets of emotional counterpoint.
▪ Try I fall in love too easily for the young Marsalis's strong sound gelling with the experience of the rhythm section.
with (brass) knobs on
▪ a brass bed
▪ Copper vessels and brass fittings are rapidly attacked under these conditions.
▪ I lifted the brass fender and got to work pulling the crude green tiles away by hand.
▪ It is the heavy brass diamonds upon my window, the security grilles; when did I put them there?
▪ She checked the number on the polished brass wall-plaque and knew she had arrived.
▪ The metal trim on the livery stable was gleaming like molten brass.
▪ The woodwind can only be used for doubling notes which are already present in the brass.
▪ Victorian Bell Pulls were traditionally finished with brass end fittings.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Brass \Brass\, n.; pl. Brasses. [OE. bras, bres, AS. br[ae]s; akin to Icel. bras cement, solder, brasa to harden by fire, and to E. braze, brazen. Cf. 1st & 2d Braze.]

  1. An alloy (usually yellow) of copper and zinc, in variable proportion, but often containing two parts of copper to one part of zinc. It sometimes contains tin, and rarely other metals.

  2. (Mach.) A journal bearing, so called because frequently made of brass. A brass is often lined with a softer metal, when the latter is generally called a white metal lining. See Axle box, Journal Box, and Bearing.

  3. Coin made of copper, brass, or bronze. [Obs.]

    Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey.
    --Matt. x. 9.

  4. Impudence; a brazen face. [Colloq.]

  5. pl. Utensils, ornaments, or other articles of brass.

    The very scullion who cleans the brasses.

  6. A brass plate engraved with a figure or device. Specifically, one used as a memorial to the dead, and generally having the portrait, coat of arms, etc.

  7. pl. (Mining) Lumps of pyrites or sulphuret of iron, the color of which is near to that of brass.

    Note: The word brass as used in Sculpture language is a translation for copper or some kind of bronze.

    Note: Brass is often used adjectively or in self-explaining compounds; as, brass button, brass kettle, brass founder, brass foundry or brassfoundry.

    Brass band (Mus.), a band of musicians who play upon wind instruments made of brass, as trumpets, cornets, etc.

    Brass foil, Brass leaf, brass made into very thin sheets; -- called also Dutch gold.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English bræs "brass, bronze," originally in reference to an alloy of copper and tin (now bronze), later and in modern use an alloy of two parts copper, one part zinc. A mystery word, with no known cognates beyond English. Perhaps akin to French brasser "to brew," because it is an alloy. It also has been compared to Old Swedish brasa "fire," but no sure connection can be made. Yet another theory connects it with Latin ferrum "iron," itself of obscure origin.\n

\nAs brass was unknown in antiquity, use of the word in Bible translations, etc., likely means "bronze." The Romans were the first to deliberately make it. Words for "brass" in other languages (such as German Messing, Old English mæsling, French laiton, Italian ottone) also tend to be difficult to explain.\n

\nThe meaning "effrontery, impudence" is from 1620s. Slang sense of "high officials" is first recorded 1899. The brass tacks that you get down to (1897) probably are the ones used to measure cloth on the counter of a dry goods store, suggesting precision. Slang brass balls "toughness, courage" (emphatically combining two metaphors for the same thing) attested by 1960s.


Etymology 1

  1. 1 Of the colour of brass. 2 (context informal English) impertinent, bold: brazen. 3 (context slang English) bad, annoying; ''as wordplay applied especially to brass instruments''. 4 Of inferior composition. n. 1 (context uncountable English) A metallic alloy of copper and zinc used in many industrial and plumbing applications. 2 (context countable music English) A class of wind instruments, usually made of metal (such as brass), that use vibrations of the player's lips to produce sound. 3 Spent shell casings (usually made of brass); the part of the cartridge left over after bullets have been fired. 4 (context uncountable English) The colour of brass. 5 (context uncountable used as a singular or plural noun military English) High-ranking officers. 6 (context uncountable informal English) A brave or foolhardy attitude. 7 (context slang dated English) Money. 8 Inferior composition. v

  2. to coat with brass Etymology 2

    a. (context slang English) brass monkey; cold. n. 1 (context uncountable slang English) brass in pocket; money. 2 (context countable slang English) A brass nail; a prostitute.

  1. n. an alloy of copper and zinc

  2. a wind instrument that consists of a brass tube (usually of variable length) blown by means of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped mouthpiece

  3. the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something; "he claims that the present administration is corrupt"; "the governance of an association is responsible to its members"; "he quickly became recognized as a member of the establishment" [syn: administration, governance, governing body, establishment, organization, organisation]

  4. impudent aggressiveness; "I couldn't believe her boldness"; "he had the effrontery to question my honesty" [syn: boldness, nerve, face, cheek]

  5. an ornament or utensil made of brass

  6. the section of a band or orchestra that plays brass instruments [syn: brass section]

  7. a memorial made of brass [syn: memorial tablet, plaque]

Brass (comics)
  1. Redirect List of Marvel Comics characters: B#Brass
Brass (film)

Brass is a 1923 silent film romance produced and distributed by Warner Bros. It was directed by Sidney A. Franklin. This movie stars Monte Blue, Marie Prevost and Irene Rich. The well regarded film survives in 16mm format.

Brass (board game)

Brass is a board game set in Lancashire, England during the Industrial Revolution. It was developed by Martin Wallace. The object is to build mines, cotton factories, ports, canals and rail links, and establish trade routes, all of which will be used to score points. The game is divided into two historical periods: the canal period and the rail period. Victory points are scored at the end of each. Depending on the card the player draws, he or she will be limited in the choices they make.

Brass (company)

Brass is an integrated marketing agency based in Leeds, United Kingdom, which provides marketing and advertising solutions both nationally and globally.


Brass is a metal alloy made of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties. It is a substitutional alloy: atoms of the two constituents may replace each other within the same crystal structure.

By comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin. However, bronze and brass may also include small proportions of a range of other elements including arsenic, phosphorus, aluminium, manganese, and silicon. The term is also applied to a variety of brasses, and the distinction is largely historical. Modern practice in museums and archaeology increasingly avoids both terms for historical objects in favour of the all-embracing "copper alloy".

Brass is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition casings and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in brass musical instruments such as horns and bells where a combination of high workability (historically with hand tools) and durability is desired. It is also used in zippers. Brass is often used in situations in which it is important that sparks not be struck, such as in fittings and tools used near flammable or explosive materials.

Brass (disambiguation)

Brass is a metal alloy of copper and zinc.

Brass may also refer to:

  • Brass, a novel by Helen Walsh
  • Brass (board game), a board game set in England during the industrial revolution
  • Brass (Slang), English slang for money i.e. Brass in pocket
  • Brass (comics), a fictional mutant character in the Marvel Comics universe
  • Brass (company), British marketing agency
  • Brass (film), a 1923 silent film romance
  • Brass instrument, a musical instrument where the sound is produced by the vibration of the player's lips
  • Brass (TV series), a 1980s British television series starring Timothy West
  • Brass (album), an album by Minibosses
  • Brass, Nigeria, a city in Bayelsa State, Nigeria
  • Brass, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • "Brass", the metallic body of a cartridge case, usually made of brass
  • Horse brass, a plaque used to decorate shire horses
  • Monumental brass, commemorative plates laid down in British and European churches
  • Very important officials; in particular, high-ranking Officer (armed forces)
  • Brass in Pocket, a song by The Pretenders, covered by several others including Suede
  • United States Army branch insignia
Brass (TV series)

Brass was a British television comedy-drama, made by Granada Television for ITV and eventually Channel 4.

Set mostly in Utterley, a fictional Lancashire mining town in the 1930s, Brass was a comedy satirising the working-class period dramas of the 1970s (most significantly When the Boat Comes In) and the American productions such as Dallas and Dynasty. Unusually for ITV comedies of the time, there was no laughter track and the humour deliberately kept extremely dry, using convoluted wordplay and subtle commentary on popular culture. Brass is northern English slang for "money" as well as for "effrontery". The series also gleefully parodied the 1977 Granada TV dramatisation of Dickens' Hard Times, which also starred Timothy West.

The series, created by John Stevenson and Julian Roach, was set around two feuding families—the wealthy Hardacres and the poor, working-class Fairchilds—who lived in a small terraced house rented from the Hardacre empire. The Hardacre family was headed by the ruthless self-made businessman Bradley ( Timothy West), who espoused Thatcherite rhetoric, while coming up with various harebrained schemes to make his businesses more efficient so he could sack workers and his alcoholic aristocratic wife Lady Patience ( Caroline Blakiston). The head of the Fairchilds was the stern "Red" Agnes ( Barbara Ewing), who spread militant socialist rhetoric around the Hardacre mine, mill and munitions factory and her doltish, forelock-tugging husband George ( Geoffrey Hinsliff; Geoffrey Hutchings in the 1990 series), who is dominated by his wife and his boss. In a twist, Agnes was also Bradley Hardacre's mistress.

Other characters in the series were the children of the families. The Fairchilds had two sons—Jack ( Shaun Scott), a defiant miner and Matthew ( Gary Cady), a sensitive clerk who wrote very poor verse. The Hardacre children were Bentley (deceased; his memorial stone is featured in the first episode), nymphomaniac Isobel (Gail Harrison), innocent budding feminist Charlotte (Emily Morgan), ambitious heir to the Hardacre empire Austin ( Robert Reynolds) (Patrick Pearson in the 1990 series) and Morris ( James Saxon), a gay Cambridge student with a fondness for teddy bears (c.f. Sebastian in Brideshead Revisited). Bentley, Austin and Morris are named after British car manufacturers; Jack and Matt were named after terms used in the game of bowls.

Not only were Bradley and Agnes lovers, with Bradley being most likely the father of Matthew but Isobel and Jack were also lovers and afterwards it was revealed that Charlotte was not Bradley's daughter but the result of an affair between Lady Patience and the elderly Lord Mountfast, whom Isobel married. Charlotte married Matthew, to whom Morris Hardacre had at one time been attracted. To complicate matters even further Lady Patience also had a brief fling with Matthew Fairchild.

Despite his wealth and social connections, Bradley had been brought up in the Utterley Cottage workhouse and had made his money himself, obviously not legally or fairly.

Apart from the Hardacres and the Fairchilds the most significant other character was the Scottish idealist, Dr McDuff, played by David Ashton and satirising Dr Finlay of Dr Finlay's Casebook.

Brass ran for two series on ITV, shown between 1982 and 1984 but was brought back for a third series in 1990 on Channel 4, set in 1939. This third series saw the Hardacres move to London and later to a country mansion called Yonderley but making frequent trips to Utterley or Swarfside, where the Hardacre business empire was still based. The Fairchilds had also moved to London as Agnes was now MP for Utterley.

Some scenes are set at Croydon Airport but were filmed at Barton Airport, whose distinctive control tower shows in the film. Some of the opening scenes are of Thorn St in Summerseat, Bury. Greater Manchester.

The series is available on DVD in the United Kingdom.

Usage examples of "brass".

Standing directly beneath the brass globe, he jumped up and accurately hooked the brass ring with the key.

At this major crossroads was a gallows tree, a huge oak held together by brass hoops bolted around the pitted and barkless trunk it had been dead for the last ten years.

It was a defective barometer, and had no hand but the stationary brass pointer, but I did not know that until afterward.

I examined these instruments and discovered that they possessed radical blemishes: the barometer had no hand but the brass pointer and the ball of the thermometer was stuffed with tin-foil.

March, and though the sun was shining brightly outside, and the old porter wore his linen jacket, as if it were already spring, there was a cold draught down the staircase, and the Baroness instinctively made haste up the steps, and was glad when she reached the big swinging door covered with red baize and studded with smart brass nails, which gave access to the grand apartment.

The Baroness showed no surprise, but wondered whether the Princess might not have to lunch, and dine too, on some nauseous little mess brought to her on a battered brass tray.

Everett Everett Barr got down to brass tacks and began explaining that the great scientist, Meander Surett, had made an invention before his death, and that Doc Savage had declared the discovery to be worthless.

It was a pretty place, furnished with an assortment of furniture she had chosen for herself years ago--a small brass bedstead, a dressing table of yew and a triple mirror she had discovered in the attics.

His eyes, sapphire blue beneath a square-cut black mane, were on the olive-skinned woman across the small room, who was adjusting the gilded brass breastplates that displayed rather than concealed her swelling bilobate chest.

Paris, from throats of iron, silver, brass, Joy-thundering cannon, blent with chiming bells, And martial strains, the full-voiced paean swells.

Gerard reading invoices with concentration and went through into the next room which was furnished with an expensive leather-topped desk, green leather armchairs, carpet, brass pot with six foot high evergreen, cocktail cabinet, framed drawings of Bernard Naylor and his bottling plant fifty years earlier and a door into a luxurious washroom.

The brasses had disgusted him because the musicians were, he thought, always shaking spit out of them.

The two brasses came together, one with the pitcher and one with a water pistol that needed filling.

When dealing with Martians-Martians like Brassen, particularly-one had to back up words with an implicit threat of violence.

His heart leaped in his chest and he spun around to see Brassen, frowning in the twilight.