Musical instruments that produce their notes by blowing through a brass mouthpiece. Examples are the trumpet, the french horn, the tuba and the trombone.

A durable, malleable, and ductile yellow alloy of copper and zinc. Many things can be made of brass, including coins, armor, weapons, sculpture, and musical instruments.

Also: attitude or chutzpah.

Also also: military slang for high-ranking officers, for the bright ornamentation they often wear (medals, officer pins, fringe, Pokemon badges, etc.).
Brass Lack of money.

Short form of 'boracic', which is itself short for 'boracic lint' which in Rhyming Slang means 'a lack of money' (skint).

"Can't make it tonight man, I'm brass."

Also used in some cases as a more general purpose negative exclamation, nearly always referring to a lack of something. For example, if something particularly unlucky happened to someone, a friend might be heard to exclaim "brass!".

It is always pronounced 'brass' like 'ass', not 'brass' like 'arse'.

Correction (19th Sept 2001): As Gritchka pointed out to me, the correct spelling is 'boracic', not 'brassic', as I was previously suggesting. Well they sound the same ..

Part of the London Slang Project

Brass also specifically refers to the cylindrical shell casing around a bullet. Once a shooter fires a gun, the bullet leaves, the gunpowder burns up, and the brass is what's left. Brass is mostly made of brass.

Brass (?), n.; pl. Brasses (#). [OE. bras, bres, AS. braes; akin to Icel. bras cement, solder, brasa to harden by fire, and to E. braze, brazen. Cf. 1st & 2d Braze.]


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.


Coin made of copper, brass, or bronze.


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


Impudence; a brazen face.


5. pl.

Utensils, ornaments, or other articles of brass.

The very scullion who cleans the brasses. Hopkinson.


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.

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

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.


© Webster 1913.

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