Brass is a shiny, gold-colored metal that is an alloy of zinc and copper. You'll see brass everywhere once you start looking: in doorknobs, lamps and light fixtures, zippers, and tools.

Because brass is both workable and strong, it's used in musical instruments (in fact, there's a whole category of instruments known as brass, including saxophones and trumpets). It's also a low-friction metal, so it's preferred for ammunition casings, gears, and locks. And brass is shiny and cheerful, so people like to use it in light fittings, plaques, and sculptures. High-ranking military members are informally known as brass, inspired by the insignia on their uniforms.

Definitions of brass
  1. noun
    an alloy of copper and zinc
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    Muntz metal, alpha-beta brass, yellow metal
    a brass that has more zinc and is stronger than alpha brass; used in making castings and hot-worked products
    alpha brass
    an alloy of brass and zinc; used mainly for cold working
    bearing brass
    a brass bushing or a lining for a bearing
    cartridge brass
    an alloy of copper and zinc (containing about 30% zinc) that is wrought into cartridges or tubing
    gilding metal
    a brass that is rich in copper; used to make articles that were to be gilded
    high brass
    brass with 35% zinc
    brass (or a yellow alloy resembling brass) that was hammered into thin sheets; formerly used for church utensils
    low brass
    brass with 30% (or less) zinc
    brass that looks like gold; used to decorate furniture
    guinea gold, red brass
    brass with enough copper to give it a reddish tint; used for plumbing pipe and other brass hardware and in cheap jewelry
    high-strength brass, manganese bronze
    a brass with from 1-4% manganese to harden it
    Admiralty Metal, Admiralty brass, Tobin bronze, naval brass
    alpha-beta brass containing tin; resistant to sea water; Admiralty Metal is a trademark
    type of:
    copper-base alloy
    any alloy whose principal component is copper
  2. noun
    an ornament or utensil made of brass
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    type of:
    decoration, ornament, ornamentation
    something used to beautify
  3. noun
    a memorial made of brass
    synonyms: memorial tablet, plaque
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    type of:
    memorial, monument
    a structure erected to commemorate persons or events
  4. noun
    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
    synonyms: brass instrument
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    baritone, baritone horn
    the second lowest brass wind instrument
    bass horn, sousaphone, tuba
    the lowest brass wind instrument
    a brass instrument without valves; used for military calls and fanfares
    a medieval brass instrument with a clear shrill tone
    cornet, horn, trump, trumpet
    a brass musical instrument with a brilliant tone; has a narrow tube and a flared bell and is played by means of valves
    fluegelhorn, flugelhorn
    a brass instrument resembling a cornet but with a wider bore
    French horn, horn
    a brass musical instrument consisting of a conical tube that is coiled into a spiral and played by means of valves
    any of a family of brass wind instruments that resemble a bugle with valves
    a brass instrument consisting of a long tube whose length can be varied by a U-shaped slide
    a bass horn (brass wind instrument) that is the tenor of the tuba family
    bombardon, helicon
    a tuba that coils over the shoulder of the musician
    a medieval musical instrument resembling a trombone
    an obsolete bass cornet; resembles a snake
    type of:
    wind, wind instrument
    a musical instrument in which the sound is produced by an enclosed column of air that is moved by the breath
  5. noun
    the section of a band or orchestra that plays brass instruments
    synonyms: brass section
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    trumpet section
    the section of a band or orchestra that plays trumpets or cornets
    type of:
    a division of an orchestra containing all instruments of the same class
  6. noun
    the persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something
    synonyms: administration, establishment, governance, governing body, organisation, organization
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    (Roman Catholic Church) the central administration governing the Roman Catholic Church
    top brass
    the most important persons in a governing body
    persons who administer the law
    bench, judiciary
    persons who administer justice
    county council
    the elected governing body of a county
    government officials, officialdom
    people elected or appointed to administer a government
    those in charge of running a business
    Bush administration
    the executive under President George W. Bush
    Clinton administration
    the executive under President Clinton
    Bush administration
    the executive under President George H. W. Bush
    Reagan administration
    the executive under President Reagan
    Carter administration
    the executive under President Carter
    civil service
    government workers; usually hired on the basis of competitive examinations
    the management of a gambling house or casino
    bureaucracy, bureaucratism
    nonelective government officials
    type of:
    a group of persons associated by some common tie or occupation and regarded as an entity
  7. noun
    impudent aggressiveness
    synonyms: boldness, cheek, face, nerve
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    audaciousness, audacity
    aggressive boldness or unmitigated effrontery
    assumption, effrontery, presumption, presumptuousness
    audacious (even arrogant) behavior that you have no right to
    type of:
    the quality of being bold and enterprising
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