part brass rags with

part brass rags with

quarrel and break off a friendship with.
This expression is explained in W. P. Drury's short story The Tadpole of an Archangel ( 1898 ): ‘When [sailors] desire to prove the brotherly love…with which each inspires the other, it is their…custom to keep their brasswork cleaning rags in a joint ragbag. But should relations…become strained between them, the bag owner casts forth upon the deck…his sometime brother's rags; and with the parting of the brassrags hostilities begin’. The phrase originated as late 19th-century nautical slang.
See also: brass, part, rag