Farley Dunn

Going for the Brass Ring

“Going for [possibly grab or got] the Brass Ring”- Have you ever heard this phrase, used to describe a superior effort or end result?

This phrase comes from old merry-go-rounds. One of the goals was to win a prize. The rider on the horse on the outside would pass a pole mounted just outside of the spinning ride. The pole had a self-feeding mechanism that could be loaded with rings, most of a common metal and a few of brass. The goal was to reach out and grab the ring as the spinning ride flung him/her past the pole (harder than you think!). If you happened to pull a brass ring from the pole’s mechanism, then you ‘got the brass ring,’ or won the prize. Today this means to have achieved a difficult goal, promotion, or reward as in, ‘Wow! He was born into wealth. He sure got the brass ring,’ or ‘Look at Bob working nights and weekends to try to get that promotion. He’s sure going for the brass ring.’