a. A yellowish alloy of copper and zinc, sometimes including small amounts of other metals, but usually 67 percent copper and 33 percent zinc.
b. Ornaments, objects, or utensils made of this alloy.
2. often brasses Music
a. The section of a band or an orchestra composed of brass instruments.
b. Brass instruments or their players considered as a group.
3. A memorial plaque or tablet made of brass, especially one on which an effigy is incised.
4. A bushing or similar lining for a bearing, made from a copper alloy.
5. Informal Bold self-assurance; effrontery.
6. Slang High-ranking military officers or other high officials.
7. Chiefly British Money.
[Middle English bras, from Old English bræs.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.