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The word "brass" has a meaning used in India, especially in the building and construction trade.

It is used as a measure of quantity for loose material (like sand, metal, etc).

It equals one hundred cubic feet volume, (e.g. a cart with load bed of 8' x 5' size, when loaded with sand which levels 2.5' high, the quantity is (8 x 5 x 2.5 / 100 =) 1 brass.

It is also used as a measure of surface area of 100 square feet, as used by painters, masons, etc, for quoting or billing purposes.

removed senses and translations[edit]

The following senses were removed from the entry as RFV-failed, or were modified too significantly to keep their translations. - -sche (discuss) 20:59, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Adjective: made of the metal brass[edit]

  1. (not comparable) Made of brass.


Adjective: relating to brass instruments[edit]

  1. Relating to brass instruments.



None of the dictionaries seem to cite the synonymous connections with the Old English BRÆS[8]. They cite BRESS as Frisian for 'copper'. BRASS < BRÆS <root of Welsh PRES, Irish PRÁS and Cornish BRĒST[8]; all meaning 'brass'. Whether those cognitives are Celtic or borrowed from English, it is still safe to state that BRASS ultimately is from their root. Welsh and Gaelic have also EFYDD and UMHA respectively, for brass, but these seem to answer to Celtic EWEN[3] (implying strength). However the Cornish BRĒST <Old Cornish BREST[8]*, is unlikely to be borrowed from English[3]; but it has BRĒST (breast) that is borrowed from Old French[7]; and there is no explanation for 'T' being suffixed to the word. Although aware of its original root, I do not include it here, due to lack of intermediate word paths; but the root word means, 'to transfix'+, whence the lexeme for 'iron'[7]. There is no evidence for any connection with the Norse words, 'to harden by fire'[2], in spite of their analogous spelling! Werdna Yrneh Yarg (talk) 22:05, 19 August 2015 (UTC)Andrew

I've fleshed out the Etymology a bit Leasnam (talk) 19:12, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

Skeat seems to have pioneered the 'harden by fire' connections, although Dr. Murray disputes this. To this, one might add Spanish BRASA (live coal)[4]; but I still believe that the root is from Celtic, or older[6] and not Germanic[2], that could have drawn the word into their use. None of the Germanic words presented seem to mean brass; but about the nearest analogy of that which you have presented is Frisian BRESS (copper)[8] and Middle Low German BRAS (metal, ore) - a remote connection there can be clearly seen. It cannot be too often rehearsed, however, that just because a word is found in Germanic dialects does not of itself prove that it is Germanic: The wider picture has to be considered when the meaning that you would expect to find is not there. Brass was so important in early culture - when iron - and its earlier forms - mean 'iron'. The other Celtic dialects could have borrowed from English; but not Cornish, as I tried to convey, above. Anyway, thank you for all your hard work on this. Since you are an etymologist, I reckon that you could come up with more appropriate derivations than those presented in the dictionaries. There is no evidence[1] for any Germanic root for the meaning of BRASS. If it was related in meaning to "harden by fire", then all the Celtic cognates would have had a synonymous meaning[5], ultimately from the stock root of English brew[3], whence Sanskrit BRAIJ[5] (to fry): Compare also Gaelic BREO[4] (flame, fire) and BRAS in 'bras-ghabhail'[5] (to burn quickly). Comparison here may well be made with braise from French braise ‎(live coals), from Old French brese ‎(embers) that are probably of the same Celt-Iberian origin, as being flame-coloured - bronze[3]. There is no basis or evidence to suggest that there is any direct connection between the lexeme for soldering and brass[1]. Iron is hardened by fire; but by water quenching copper, it becomes annealed or softened! Andrew H. Gray 20:55, 15 September 2015 (UTC)Andrew

[0] means 'Absolutely not; [1] means 'Exceedingly unlikely'; [2] means 'Very dubious'; [3] means 'Questionable'; [4] means 'Possible'; [5] means 'Probable'; [6] means 'Likely'; [7] means 'Most Likely' or *Unattested; [8] means 'Attested'; [9] means 'Obvious' - only used for close matches within the same language or dialect, at linkable periods.

+ This is only the case if BRASS has no meaning related to the colour of a flame; as IRON is alleged to ultimately come from P.I.E. for BLOOD, because of its colour. Please see iron.

  • Ken George KESVA Breton orientated Unified Cornish Dictionary.

Andrew H. Gray 21:01, 4 November 2015 (UTC)Andrew Werdna Yrneh Yarg (talk) 22:05, 19 August 2015 (UTC)Andrew


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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

This discussion is no longer live and is left here as an archive. Please do not modify this conversation, but feel free to discuss its conclusions.


Rfv-sense X 3:

  1. Made of brass.
  2. [not challenged] of the colour of brass.
  3. (UK slang) Bad, annoying.
  4. Related to brass instruments.

Sense 1 and Sense 4 seem to be attributive use of the noun. I am just unfamiliar with the UK slang sense. DCDuring TALK 19:42, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

#1 is not just attributive. Though we're reaching the point where WT:GLOSS needs to define attributive as "adjective-like, without being an adjective". —RuakhTALK 19:54, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
We've probably passed that point. DCDuring TALK 21:03, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
*sigh* Yes check.svg DoneRuakhTALK 21:27, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I understand your point. For sense 1, in the uses "That nozzle is brass" and "That is the brass nozzle.", both uses seem more easily interpreted be of the noun than of an adjective. It is most convincing to me that a word is a true adjective when it can be modified by "more" (with "than"), "too", or "very", has a meaning shift. Use following "seem", "become", and "make" doesn't seem to discriminate between mass nouns like brass and possible adjectives like brass. "Brass" fails the "enough" test also, I think: "The nozzle is brass enough to meet the spec." doesn't seem right, in contrast to "The nozzle is corrosion-resistant enough to meet spec." DCDuring TALK 23:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
My point is not about the word brass, but about the word attributive, which is a useful technical term with a specific relevant meaning. I think we should try to use it accurately, rather than brandishing it like a fetish whenever we want to say that a noun isn't also an adjective. I don't see how we can have a meaningful discussion about whether a given cite demonstrates adjective-ness without recourse to the real meanings of words like "attributive" and "adjective". For some reason you're very punctilious about the latter, but very libertine about the former. —RuakhTALK 01:10, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Which use of the word "attributive"? I don't think that uses of "brass" in most senses where "brass" is predicate are uses of an adjective; I believe they are uses of the noun. Therefore I believe that purported uses of "brass" semantically like sense 1 are all uses of the noun. Our code for this kind of thing focuses on the common attributive use of a word whose syntactic class is in question. Do you have an alternative shorthand tag for this? DCDuring TALK 03:42, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Re: "Which use of the word 'attributive'?": You wrote that "Sense 1 and Sense 4 seem to be attributive use of the noun" (emphasis mine). Hence my reply that sense 1 is not just attributive.
Re: "Do you have an alternative shorthand tag for this?": Well, despite what I wrote at WT:GLOSS#A, I'm not actually 100% sure exactly what you mean by the word "attributive". In this case you could have just said "Sense 1 and Sense 4 seem to be use of the noun", but presumably you included the word "attributive" because there was something you meant to convey with it. Maybe "Sense 1 and Sense 4 seem to be adjective-like use of the noun"? Or "Sense 1 and Sense 4 seem to be adjective-like,-not-adjective use of the noun"? (In the latter case, I suppose we could call it "ALNA".)
That said, it might be a bit premature to be resorting to "code" and "shorthand" regardless, given that different words have different considerations, and I imagine that most editors are not very clear yet on what those considerations are. For example, if we started seeing cites like "the door is car" and "the door became car" and so on, that would be good evidence that car as in "car door" has become an adjective for some people; but cites like "the door is brass" and "the door became brass" and so on are not. Why? Because the relevant sense of "car" is countable and the relevant sense of "brass" is not. This is fairly easy to understand and fairly easy to explain — provided we actually bother to explain it, rather than hiding like hermit crabs inside our unintelligible shorthand.
RuakhTALK 12:58, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, I have been crabby here, but how did you know I was an hermit?
re: "attributive". I have inferred from the entries that seem to have PoS sections for both nouns and adjectives that contributors ascribe adjectivity to those words if they occur in pre-head position in a noun phrase. That is the "attributive" position for adjectives. Nouns can also occur in that position, usually in "attributive use" (but sometimes as a complement of the head per CGEL). ("Attributive use of noun(s)|noun phrase(s)" is not exactly a rare collocation. Nor is "attributive" noun.) I don't want to have to explain the whole thing (not that I could, anyway), whenever this comes up - which is often. That is one reason why we have Wiktionary:English adjectives. Perhaps we should have a template that facilitated linkage to pages that explained all this, including controversy, and our operational practice. I found this book passage congenial. DCDuring TALK 18:12, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I feel like we're still talking at cross-purposes. I think the word "attributive" is useful. "Attributive use of noun" is useful. "Attributive noun" is useful. All of these are great, and useful, and relevant, and we should keep using them in these discussions. My complaint is with using them wrong. You said that the sense "Template:not comparable Made of brass" is "attributive use of the noun"; but by "attributive" it doesn't seem that you meant "attributive", because you're obviously perfectly aware this sense also occurs regularly in predicative use. I just don't get it. Are you assuming that the contributor considered this an adjective because of "brass doorknob" and not because of "doorknob is brass"? If so, that would explain our miscommunication: I'm not making that assumption. It didn't even occur to me until now.
Re: Wiktionary:English adjectives: Can I be bold with that page?
RuakhTALK 18:47, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm saying that it is attributive use of the noun that apparently causes contributors to create the PoS section and add senses to it. If there were clear predicative use of the adjective, there wouldn't be an issue. When a noun PoS exists, predicative use is often ambiguous at best. If the predicative sense were to exist then there is a prima facie case that the sense should be included in the adjective PoS. I am asserting that the sense is that of the noun, which language users normally and naturally often construe as "made of" in the case of mass nouns. DCDuring TALK 19:15, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Re: your edit summary ("I am not willing to concede that the sense actually exists in predicate use"): I don't get it. Are you saying that "the doorknob is brass" is an attributive use of the word "brass"? Or are you saying said clause means something other than "the doorknob is made of brass"? Or what? —RuakhTALK 20:24, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I am saying that "the doorknob is brass" is predicative use of a sense of brass#Noun that can be construed as "made of brass". Further, I assert that unless it can be shown that there is some use (attributive or predicative) of brass#Adjective in the sense "made of brass" that is gradable, we should not have such a sense for the adjective. I felt that to say that the sense "is" "made of brass" concedes the point that is in question. DCDuring TALK 22:28, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Re: your first two sentences: I agree. (At least, pending evidence to the contrary.) Re: your third sentence: O.K., I half-understand that. But it seems like you're willing to acknowledge that it's "made of brass" when it's attributive, and you only start quibbling when it's predicative. (Your initial comment said that the sense "seem[s] to be attributive use of the noun", and your recent edit summary refused to concede that "the sense actually exists in predicate use". It seems like you should refuse to concede that the sense actually exists, period, even as "attributive use of the noun". It's just a misclassification of some of the noun's uses.) —RuakhTALK 22:55, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
There seems to be more risk to leaving behind a bad soundbyte (a sentence or phrase) than an inconsistent paragraph-long or multiparagraph-long argument, let alone some inconsistency across multiple discussions. Short-attention-span discussions and debates seem to be the rule, especially lately. Now that I think of other times, maybe that isn't so bad. Sh! DCDuring TALK 23:56, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Google books search results for "brassest" do not mean "most made of brass" — but "made of brass" is probably absolute. I have added three quotations to the citations page. - -sche 04:21, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
"A very brass band" is used, apparently a pun on meanings [3] and [4]. - -sche 23:12, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Usually we try to avoid wordplay usage in attestation, but maybe some think we should accept it. DCDuring TALK 23:50, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think we should count wordplay, but looking through the hits at google books:"a very brass band" (thanks, -sche!), I don't see much evidence that it's wordplay, aside from its pressing an attributive noun into service as an adjective, which I think we more or less have to ignore (else our reasoning would be perfectly circular). If three adjective cites are enough to demonstrate adjectivity, then I think it would be valid to take three of those (though obviously it would be preferable to add three cites with more internal variety). —RuakhTALK 00:25, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I think this one provides another collocation in sense 1. DCDuring TALK 00:54, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I added quotations of "very brass band" to the entry. To which meaning do they belong, [3] or [4]? The word seems to be used in another meaning on Usenet, something like "brazen, impudent". I have added four quotations to Citations:brass. - -sche 00:57, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
I have added to the entry. - -sche (discuss) 04:43, 1 April 2011 (UTC)
Struck: cited senses pass RFV, uncited senses fail RFV, some senses were combined based on citations. Translation information was kept. - -sche (discuss) 21:10, 21 August 2011 (UTC)