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.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus