The word "brass" became synonymous to "officers", "senior officers" or "command" due to their brass rank badges. I'm curious when was the first recorded usage of "brass" in this meaning.

  • 2
    Brass: Slang sense of "high officials" is first recorded 1899, from their insignia. etymonline.com/word/brass – user66974 Oct 15 '17 at 21:02
  • 1
    The insignias in question were the ones on their hats, thus brass hat and brass-hatted mean the same thing and the first recorded use of these are from 1887 and 1858, according to the OED – Arm the good guys in America Oct 15 '17 at 22:24

The OED has a example from 1870:

1870 Beloit College Monthly Oct. 12 At every big plantation or negro shanty yard Just to save his property the generals plase a gard The sentrys instruction to let no private pass, The rich mans house and table are fixed to suit the brass.

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.