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May 23, 2012
This week's theme
Metallic metaphors

This week's words
copperplate
tin god
brass ring
iron curtain
silver lining

Catching a brass ring
Catching a brass ring

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

brass ring

PRONUNCIATION:
(brass ring)

MEANING:
noun: A prize or an opportunity for a prize, especially a prestigious one.

ETYMOLOGY:
From the former practice of trying to get a brass ring while riding a carousel. Earliest documented use: late 19th century. A brass ring is quite different from a brass-collar.

NOTES:
In earlier times, merry-go-rounds had an added attraction. While the ride was in progress, riders were to try to pick a ring from a dispenser. Whoever managed to get a ring, typically made of brass, could redeem it for a free ride. Now that the popularity of carousels has declined, perhaps they can add the brass ring challenge to roller coasters -- with personal injury lawyers conveniently placed at the end of the ride.

USAGE:
"Imogen Cooper is more about the music than about grasping for the brass ring of stardom."
Rob Hubbard; English Pianist Cooper; Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota); Mar 4, 2012.

See more usage examples of brass ring in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Every increased possession loads us with new weariness. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

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