Definition of brass noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//brɑːs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//bræs//
    Musical instruments
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  1. 1[uncountable] a bright yellow metal made by mixing copper and zinc; objects made of brass solid brass fittings/door handles a brass plate (= a sign outside a building giving the name and profession of the person who works there) to clean/polish the brass candlesticks made of solid brass
  2. musical instruments
  3. 2[uncountable + singular or plural verb] the musical instruments made of metal, such as trumpets or French horns, that form a band or section of an orchestra; the people who play them music for piano, strings and brass the brass section of the orchestra compare percussion, string, woodwind, wind instrument See related entries: Musical instruments
  4. for a horse
  5. 3[countable] (British English) a decorated piece of brass used as a decorative object, especially a round flat piece attached to a horse’s harness
  6. in church
  7. 4[countable] (especially British English) a flat piece of brass with words or a picture on it, fixed to the floor or wall of a church in memory of somebody who has died a memorial brass see also brass rubbing
  8. important people
  9. 5(especially North American English) (informal top brass) [uncountable + singular or plural verb] the people who are in the most important positions in a company, an organization, etc.
  10. money
  11. 6[uncountable] (old-fashioned, British English, informal) money
  12. see also brassy
    Word OriginOld English bræs, of unknown origin.Idioms (informal) without showing any respect, shame or fear She marched in here, bold as brass, and demanded a pay rise. More Like ThisSimiles in idioms (as) bald as a coot, (as) blind as a bat, (as) bright as a button, (as) bold as brass, as busy as a bee, as clean as a whistle, (as) dead as a/​the dodo, (as) deaf as a post, (as) dull as ditchwater, (as) fit as a fiddle, as flat as a pancake, (as) good as gold, (as) mad as a hatter/​a March hare, (as) miserable/​ugly as sin, as old as the hills, (as) pleased as Punch, as pretty as a picture, (as) regular as clockwork, (as) quick as a flash, (as) safe as houses, (as) sound as a bell, (as) steady as a rock, (as) thick as two short planks, (as) tough as old bootsSee worksheet.
    brass monkeys, brass monkey weather
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    (British English, slang) if you say that it is brass monkeys or brass monkey weather, you mean that it is very cold weather
    (British English, informal) a combination of confidence and lack of respect I didn't think she would have the brass neck to do that. (North American English, informal) the opportunity to be successful; success that you have worked hard to get The girls' outdoor track team has grabbed the brass ring seven times. From the custom of giving a free ride to any child who grabbed one of the rings hanging around the side of a merry-go-round at a fairground.
    (get down to) brass tacks
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    (informal) (to start to consider) the basic facts or practical details of something
    where there’s muck there’s brass
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    (British English, saying) used to say that a business activity that is unpleasant or dirty can bring in a lot of money
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: brass