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Re: Bold brazen article

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on November 17, 2005

In Reply to: Re: Bold brazen article posted by Bob on November 17, 2005

: : I was called a "bold brazen article" by catholic school nuns a ton of times in the 1960s. Does anyone know where this came from?

: Not exactly, but I'll bet they were Irish. The phrase sounds straight out of John Millington Synge.

I agree with Bob, that sounds 100% Irish. But "brazen" is one of an interesting clutch of words and phrases in english, e.g. "bold as brass", "brazen", "brassy" and "to brazen (something) out" - all metaphors based on the nature and uses of brass. Being shiny and yellow it was used in trinkets and buttons as a cheap substitute for gold, though it has nothing of the beauty and subtlety of real gold; thus anything brassy is cheap and garish. Being rust-proof, shiny and hard it was used for items like harness-buckles instead of iron (liable to rust) or bronze (easily scratched or dented, liable to tarnish); thus someone brazen or bold as brass is able to barge impudently through - to brazen out - situations that would make a more modest and sensitive person flinch, blench or blush. Phrases with a similar meaning are "brass-faced" and "brazen-faced". The idea here is that just as brass does not tarnish or rust, "brass-faced" people don't blush. (VSD)