American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, sometimes including small amounts of other metals, but usually 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc.
- n. Ornaments, objects, or utensils made of this alloy.
- n. Music The section of a band or an orchestra composed of brass instruments. Often used in the plural.
- n. Music Brass instruments or their players considered as a group. Often used in the plural.
- n. A memorial plaque or tablet made of brass, especially one on which an effigy is incised.
- n. A bushing or similar lining for a bearing, made from a copper alloy.
- n. Informal Bold self-assurance; effrontery.
- n. Slang High-ranking military officers or other high officials.
- n. Chiefly British Money.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An important alloy, consisting essentially of copper and zinc. The proportion in which the two metals are combined differs considerably in different kinds of brass. Brass in general is harder than copper, and consequently wears better than that metal. It is malleable and ductile, so that it can be easily rolled into thin sheets, or be hammered into any desired shape. It turns easily in the lathe, and can be drawn into fine wire; moreover, it has an attractive golden color, and is cheaper than copper. The color of brass varies with the proportions of the ingredients. A full yellow variety contains about two parts of copper to one of zinc. This alloy was known to the ancients, and was made by them before they had any knowledge of the metal zinc as such. It is not among the metallic substances mentioned by Homer; but it was well known to Strabo, who describes the mode of manufacturing it from the zinkiferous ore (calamin), and calls the alloy orichalc (
ὀρείχαλκος). See orichac, pinchbeck, prince's metal, mosaic gold, Muntz's metal, and yellow metal. In rhetorical comparisons, brass is a common type of hardness, durability, or obduracy.
- n. A utensil, ornament, or other article made of brass: as, to clean the brasses on board a ship.
- n. In machinery, a pillow, bearing, collar, box, or bush, supporting a gudgeon: so called because frequently made of brass.
- n. In medieval archœol., a funeral monument consisting of a plate of brass, usually of rectangular shape and often of large size, incised with an effigy, coats of arms, inscriptions, and frequently accessory ornament. Such brasses are sometimes splendidly enameled. In some examples the designs are executed in relief, or in relief in combination with engraving. Slabs of stone inlaid with figures, etc., in brass are also called brasses, and are a usual form of medieval monument. Both the plates of brass and the inlaid stones were frequently placed in the ordinary pavement of churches. Comparatively few of such monuments executed wholly in brass survive, as the value of the metal has caused it to be melted down and applied to other uses.
- n. A brass musical instrument, or, collectively, the brass instruments in a band or an orchestra.
- n. Money.
- n. In coal-mining, iron pyrites. It occurs in small particles disseminated through the coal, or in veinlets or thin scaly partings.
- n. Excessive assurance; impudence; brazenness: as, he has brass enough for anything.
- Made or composed of brass; pertaining to or resembling brass; brazen; brassy.
- To cover or coat over with brass. Copper is brassed by exposing its surface to the fumes of metallic zinc, or by boiling it in diluted hydrochloric acid to which an amalgam of zinc and cream of tartar has been added. Iron is brassed by plunging it, after cleaning, into melted brass, and by electro-deposition.
- n. Nautical, same as brace.
- n. A continental European measure of length, equal to the extended arms or more; a fathom. The old French brasse was 63.9 English inches; the Spanish braza in Castile,65.7 inches; the Catalan brassa, 80.6 inches; the brazado of the Canary Isles (a variety of the Spanish braza), 71.6 inches; the braça of Portugal and Brazil, 86 inches; the Norwegian brass, commonly used on North German nautical charts, 74.1 inches.
- n. uncountable A metallic alloy of copper and zinc used in many industrial and plumbing applications.
- n. countable, music A class of wind instruments, usually made of metal (such as brass), that use vibrations of the player's lips to produce sound.
- n. Spent shell casings (usually made of brass); the part of the cartridge left over after bullets have been fired.
- n. uncountable The colour of brass.
- n. uncountable, military High-ranking officers.
- n. uncountable, informal A brave or foolhardy attitude.
- n. slang, dated Money.
- n. Inferior composition.
- adj. Of the colour of brass.
- adj. informal Impertinent, bold: brazen.
- adj. slang Bad, annoying; as wordplay applied especially to brass instruments.
- adj. Of inferior composition.
- n. uncountable, slang Brass in pocket; money.
- n. countable, slang A brass nail; a prostitute.
- adj. slang Brass monkey; cold.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. 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.
- n. (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.
- n. obsolete Coin made of copper, brass, or bronze.
- n. colloq. Impudence; a brazen face.
- n. Utensils, ornaments, or other articles of brass.
- n. 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.
- n. (Mining) Lumps of pyrites or sulphuret of iron, the color of which is near to that of brass.
- n. the section of a band or orchestra that plays brass instruments
- n. an ornament or utensil made of brass
- n. a wind instrument that consists of a brass tube (usually of variable length) that is blown by means of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped mouthpiece
- n. an alloy of copper and zinc
- n. the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something
- n. a memorial made of brass
- n. impudent aggressiveness
- From Old English bræs. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English bras, from Old English bræs. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“If it had been desired to separate also on material, for example, if it were deemed important to locate all brass scrap, each of the groups based upon form could be divided into one of _brass_ and one”
“I've been reloading for only twelve years, which ain't much, but Win brass is the one I have settled on.”
“They are mostly made of that metal, Sire, though sometimes they are made of a metal which we call brass, which is a compound of copper, and of another metal called tin, which adds greatly to its strength and hardness.”
“The Norma brass is also thicker than Remington or Winchester.”
“Aye, what we call brass-monkey weather," said Dalziel, taking a swig from his flask.”
“Do you Barford people ever think of anything else but what you call brass?" asked Collingwood, laughing.”
“And you can actually buy .308 Win brass that takes a Small rifle primer instead of a large rifle primer, this helps with a more consistant ignition and many palma shooters use them, but you'll pay an arm and a leg for this kind of brass ...”
“In ECHOES OF GLORY: ARMS AND EQUIPMENT OF THE CONFEDERACY, the buttons on the Paine jacket look like small US Eagle buttons although one of them looks like a civilian button, and the other one looks like plain brass, but it is hard to tell from the photo.”
“I found that after three reloads, my 30-06 winchester brass is breaking clean off near the base.”
“You should not be blowing out the head unless your brass is being stretched severely with too long a chamber.”
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