brass hat


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

a brass hat

Someone with a lot of authority, power, or influence in a group or organization. When I was a brass hat, I used to charge the most outrageous things to the company credit card. You'll only get a truthful answer if you manage to talk to the brass hats.
See also: brass, hat

brass hat

A high-ranking official, as in All the brass bats were invited to the sales conference. The terms big brass, top brass, and the brass all refer to high officials considered as a group. For example, John's one of the top brass in town-he's superintendent of schools. The origin of this term is disputed. Most authorities believe it originated in the late 19th-century British army, when senior officers had gold leaves on their cap brims. Another theory is that it referred to the cocked hat worn by Napoleon and his officers, which they folded and carried under the arm when indoors. In French these were called chapeaux à bras ("hats in arms"), a term the British are supposed to have anglicized as brass. By World War I brass hat referred to a high-ranking officer in Britain and America, and in World War II it was joined by the other brass phrases. After the war these terms began to be used for the top executives in business and other organizations.
See also: brass, hat

brass hat

n. a member of the brass. A brass hat came up to me and asked me where I was going.
See also: brass, hat

top brass, the

The highest-ranking officials or executives in an organization. The expression is generally thought to come from the late-nineteenth-century British army, when senior officers had gold oak leaves decorating the brim of their caps. John Ciardi, however, proposed another etymology, from the cocked hat worn by French officers in Napoleon’s time, which was folded and carried under the arm (in French, chapeaux à bras) while indoors; Ciardi believed the British changed bras to brass, and referred to officers as brass hats. By World War II both that term and top brass were in common use and afterward were transferred to peacetime officialdom as well. Thus, “The top police brass spreads out a hot carpet for the local cops” (Philadelphia Bulletin, 1949).
See also: top
References in periodicals archive ?
I couldn't seem to shake Brass Hat off but finally in the last 20 yards I realised we were going to get there.
As the field headed down the straight, Electrocutionist was in the mid-division with Brass Hat upfront.
Coral bet: 11-10 Electrocutionist, 5-1 Kane Hekili, Brass Hat, 6-1 Super Frolic,10-1 Magna Graduate, 14-1 Choctaw Nation, 22-1 Wilko, 25-1 Star King Man,40-1 bar.
He finally managed to move ahead in the last 100 metres to beat Brass Hat by a length-and-a-half to do Godolphin proud.
The 1989 Breeders Cup Turf hero is the sire of 2006 Grade 1 Donn Handicap winner Brass Hat, while in Europe the son of Kris S has also been represented by Prizeman, winner of the 2000 Listed Washington Singer Stakes for Richard Hannon.
How could he be fancied against the likes of Grand Couturier, who was seeking his third consecutive win in the race, the 2004 winner Better Talk Now, others successful at Group 1/Grade 1 level in Quijano and Brass Hat, and a couple of 2009 Graded scorers in Americain and Musketier?
A poll conducted by Car magazine on behalf of Brass Hat Films asked the public what type of car should be used in the new crime caper The Persuaders.
Also notable is a sister to Jeremy Noseda's Poule d'Essai des Pouliches third Rahiyah (126) and a Sky Mesa half-sister to the popular Grade 1 winner Brass Hat (737).
Ecstatic Dettori had the worst draw in the pounds 2 million Dubai World Cup and looked in trouble as the field turned into the straight and American raider Brass Hat and English-trained Wilko went for home.
Curlin will break from the rail against nine rivals that include Grade 1 winners Brass Hat - second in Electrocutionist's World Cup only to be disqualified over a medication issue - and Einstein, plus Grade 3 winner Grasshopper.
LANCE Corporal Angela Inglis is a 27- year-old clerk in the Adjutant General's office, the Army brass hat responsible for recruitment and promotion.