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Brass Balls

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When someone does something that's very brave, or at least very risky, it is said that they have Brass Balls, even if they are female. No reason has ever been given for why brass balls are either braver or more foolish than meatballs or billiard balls or... any kind of ball at all, really.note  The balls part we get, though. Evidently there is a direct correlation between them and boldness. Apparently it originated from pawnshops (with their distinctive brass balls hanging outside) where sellers would drive a hard bargain.

Elemental Crafting may come into play; superior to brass balls are balls of iron, beaten out only by balls of steel.

See Testosterone Poisoning for more information.

Not to be confused with Balls of Steel, where one has balls tough enough to withstand a Groin Attack.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Slayers, a bandit says to Lina: "You have some balls, kiddie! Oh wait, you don't, you're a girl."
  • In the Hetalia Bloodbath 2010, China utters this immortal line to Hong Kong:
    China: Choosing to go naked rather than wear a maid outfit? ...YOU'VE GOT BALLS-ARU!!
  • The English Dub of Rosario + Vampire plays this nearly word for word when Kou accidentally looks up Inner Moka's and Kokoa's skirts.
    Inner Moka: Well, you've got some big, brass ones, I'll give ya that much.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • In The Ballad of Twilight Sparkle, two cops are described this way for requesting an audience with the local resident God-Emperor: 'the sheer atomic weight of [their] solid plutonium reproductive organs would make escape velocity all but impossible.'
  • In Flight: Due to the multiple stunts Shirou pulled, Uzume had described him this way. Start with "Bowling balls" and it's currently at "Giant brass beach balls".
  • In White Knight, Grey Queen Harry reveals the deception and ambush he has planned for the Death Eaters to the Order of the Phoenix.
    George: Brass, I think, and very heavy.
    Fred: And that’s why he always has Pansy and Ginny with him; he needs other people to carry them around for him.
    Mrs. Weasley: What on earth are you two talking about?
    Fred: Harry's balls. Because they must be as big as a house and made of brass.
  • This Bites!: Lampshaded when Cross asks why Nami is always attacking his head or his groin, she yells back that they're both such large targets.
  • In Harry Potter and the Final Straw Neville disarms Snape when he tries to curse Harry in the back.
    Harry: You pick your moments to show you're a Gryff, but when you do... wow. Careful you don't bruise your legs with those big brass ones that just dropped back in the hallway.
  • In Harry Potter and the Spiritus Crystalus Harry shows a Pensieve memory of his fight with the basilisk.
    Jack: You've got brass ones the size of bowling balls, Harry! I know veterans that would've had the Hershey squirts seeing that snake!
  • In Banking on Her Fred and George say this about Harry after they find out from Mrs. Weasley's Howler that Harry sent a Howler to her first.
    Fred: You sent our mum a howler?
    George: Brass ones Fred, big brass ones. Harry, that impressed me more than what you did to that dragon.
  • In Rocking the Boat Fred and George visit Grimmauld Place after Harry has an argument with Dumbledore.
    Harry: What are you clowns talking about? At this hour, nonetheless.
    Weasley twin one: Your balls, of course.
    Weasley twin two: We were expecting you to carry those enormous, probably metallic examples of manliness in a wheelbarrow, at least.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Speed, when Jack Traven survives one of the many death-defying moments he encounters over the course of the film, a passenger cheerfully informs him:
    Ortiz: You're not too bright, man, but you got some big, round, hairy cojones.
    Jack: That... is really, really gross, Ortiz.
  • The centerpiece of Alec Baldwin's epic speech in Glengarry Glen Ross is his use of a visual aid (pictured above) to demonstrate what a real estate salesman needs.
  • There's a great scene in L.A. Story where Harris (Steve Martin) is walking on the beach with arrogant bastard Roland (Richard E. Grant) and there's this metallic clanging noise. Harris asks what it is and Roland says, "It's a nuisance. It's my damn testicles."
  • Wayne's World 2: When Wayne kicks Cassandra's father in the nuts in a kung-fu duel, a pair of Chinese medicine balls (made of metal, of course) fall out.
  • Heard in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when Eddie confronts R.K. Maroon.
    R.K. Maroon: You got a lot of brass coming in here by yourself.
  • In Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol, Callahan (a female instructor) informs a nervous female recruit that, "Soon, you'll have abs of steel, ice in your veins and a set of brass balls like this!", indicating the size of two basketballs.
  • The Jackie Chan movie Mr. Nice Guy has a scene where Jackie's Friend on the Force confronts the Big Bad for harming his father, but to no avail, leading to this immortal line:
    Big Bad: That boy's got some big brass ones... He'd better be careful or he'll find them hanging on his Christmas tree!
  • Said of the biker in The Mist who volunteers to leave the supermarket and brave unknown peril to attempt to retrieve a rifle from a pickup in the parking lot.
  • In Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, when Robin demands his father's medallion back after defeating John Little in a quarterstaff duel at the river, John remarks that Robin has these and welcomes him to the forest camp.
    John: Well, Robin of've got balls of solid rock!
  • An Innocent Man. The two corrupt detectives who framed the protagonist have this reaction when, after he's released on parole, he tries to rob them while they're doing a drug deal.
  • Man on a Ledge: Mercer defies orders and goes on the ledge to talk to Cassidy (also preventing tactical from coming down and taking him out) to find out what's going on. When she comes back into the hotel room, Daughterty compliments her on her balls, and adds, "They're gonna hang you by them, but still."

  • Ernest Hemingway's 1932 book on bullfighting, Death in the Afternoon.
    "It takes more cojones," he wrote, "to be a sportsman where death is a closer party to the game."
  • The Dresden Files:
    • "You can say what you like about Gentleman Johnny Marcone, but he has a set of brass balls that drag the ground when he walks."
    • Harry is also accused of such in Dead Beat when Thomas blackmails the head of the White Court in his name.
      Dresden: So you're saying that I blackmailed the White Court. By proxy.
      Thomas: Yeah. You've gotta have some great big brass balls to do something like that, Harry.
  • Special Agent D'Agustino on the USSS's Protection Detail is described this way in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan novels: if she did have them, 'they'd be heavy, brass ones'.
  • In Daniel Keys Moran's Tales of the Continuing Time books The Long Run, The Last Dancer and The Big Boost, the Elite are a group of special soldiers who have been surgically altered to become cyborgs with subdural armor, laser weapons in their fingers, accelerated reaction time and great strength. Their enemies ironically call them Brass Balls.
  • After the protagonist of R.A. Salvatore's The Spearwielder's Tale pulls off an impressive bluff, his leprechaun buddy claims he has "a set to make a highland bull green with envy!"
  • When the protagonist of Poor Man's War by Elliott Kay applies to become a Master-At-Arms (basically a shipboard security guard/cop), he has to list three character references of senior NCO or commissioned officer status. He lists his former Commanding Officer, his current CO, and the head of the *entire Navy*. To be fair, the latter did know exactly who he was and had recently taken time to meet with him personally and kick his ass about deliberately taking an assignment that limited his career progression (by delaying specialty school).
    • He also shows up to a giant government function slash party without a date. He gets out of the vehicle at the red carpet, gives a mental "screw it", and walks up to a beautiful reporter covering the events and asks her out on camera. She says yes, but also turns out to have a fiancee.
  • In Callahan's Lady, the Professor is described as having such. Though it's quite clear that neither he, Maureen, nor Lady Sally would like to see them become hammered brass, as would happen should Tony Donuts discover that he's being conned.

    Live-Action TV 
  • During the WWE Attitude Era Mankind practically made a company-wide catchphrase out of "Testicular Fortitude" (a play on "intestinal fortitude" - i.e., guts). Vince McMahon is the one who ran with it the most, such as,
    I've got the brass [balls], to fire your ass!
  • MythBusters: After Jamie traverses their (increasingly wobbly) duct tape bridge, Adam says to the camera: "Ladies and gentlemen, they are made of brass, James Hyneman!" Note that the bridge spans a very deep dry dock and Mr. Hyneman is very afraid of heights.
  • Stephen Colbert talks about his brass balls quite often. They're the only thing that give him the guts to speak the truth.
  • While executing a painful squeeze on a rival, Elisabeth Rohm's character on Bull informs him that "9 times out 10, brass balls will get you anything you want ... I've got them; you don't. Too bad for you."
  • Dr. Brennan is credited with these, at which point she immediately replies that she has ovaries.
  • The Boys (2019). After Starlight makes a failed attempt to arrest Hughie Campbell, he turns up in the next episode to ask her help in freeing his friends from a Black Site. Starlight comments sarcastically that he has plenty of balls. Hughie quips, "No, just two of them."
  • In Angel, Lindsay says that everybody puts too much emphasis on Angel being a vampire with a soul, and overlooks the fact that he's "a vampire with big brass testes" after he reveals his plan to go after The Circle of the Black Thorn.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy's mother Joyce is being held prisoner by evil Slayer Faith.
    Faith: You're thinking "You'll never get away with this!"
    Joyce: Actually I was thinking "My daughter is going to kill you soon."
    Faith: That a fact?
    Joyce: More like a bet.
    Faith: Whoa. You got a pair on you, Joyce.
  • The entire point behind the Channel 4 series Balls of Steel in which contestants (male or female) demonstrate their Balls of Steel by going out in public and pulling horrible schemes on the unknowing public.
  • In Sliders, "The Exodus, Part 1." Quinn said to Maggie that he could hear her "brass balls" clink.
  • Law & Order: UK. CP James Steel is badgering the cops about evidence that went missing from a case he prosecuted several years ago that resulted in an innocent man going to prison. After hemming and hawing for a few minutes, he finally asks point blank if Ronnie mishandled the evidence. Incensed at the accusation, Ronnie's partner Matt snaps, "I can't believe you just asked that. Well, you've got balls, I'll give you that much."
    • A nicer version in another episode where Matt is commending a young witness for testifying against a London Gangster—"What you did in there took balls."
  • The People v. O. J. Simpson: F. Lee Bailey remarks to his colleague Robert Shapiro that the latter has metal clanking down his pants because of Shapiro's ingenious strategy to turn the O.J. Simpson trial into a racist witch hunt.
  • In an episode of Without a Trace, the agents are watching a vigil for two missing girls to see if anyone looks suspicious. One of them does in fact notice an oddball and comments, "If that's him (the kidnapper), he's got nuts of steel."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000
  • Poker.
    • Sometimes poker players will make bold plays others would not make, such as pushing in all their chips to make it look like they are confident enough in their hand so nobody else would call them. And there are others who would call them, either because they feel the "all-in" player was betting with no good hand at all, or they feel they've got an even better hand than the good hand of the all-in player.
    • The Brass Balls comparisons can come here, especially when an all-in poker player makes a hand on the last card that beats the hand of the calling player (mainly because they would have lost if that last card hadn't saved them). Even you having the best hand (known as "the nuts") might not stop you from losing that way (in which they say your hand has "been cracked"). In poker, even Brass Balls can be broken in dramatic ways.

  • The Living Dead Dolls "The Lost In Oz" collection includes the Wizard, who has the gifts for all of the characters. For Purdy (whose brain is exposed) as the Scarecrow, he has a brain, for Bride of Valentine (who carries a heart) as the Tin Man, he has said heart, and for Teddy as the Cowardly Lion, he has courage, which turns out to be a bag containing two brass spheres.

    Video Games 
  • The first two BioShock games use this as a name for an achievement in some way. The first game has 'Brass Balls' which requires you to finish the game on Hard difficulty without using any Vita-Chambers. The second game has 'Big Brass Balls' which only requires you to complete the game without using any Vita-Chambers.
  • The krogan race in the Mass Effect universe have four testicles, so whenever they feel the need to display recognition of a particularly badass individual, they say "he has got a quad". Commander Shepard earns it after you defeat the Thresher Maw on Tuchanka. Yes, even if you play as Female!Shepard. Just goes to show the sheer manliness of that deed. Then there's Wrex's reaction to Grunt, a Super-Soldier even by krogan standards:
    "Next you'll tell me he's a quint and craps dark matter."
  • The boiler boss in Conker's Bad Fur Day has a pair of literal brass balls. They're his weak point.
  • One of Duke Nukem's catchphrase: "I've got balls of steel!" The company that made Duke Nukem, 3D Realms, later released a pinball game named Balls of Steel.
  • In Suikoden II, when Jowy tells Luca Blight that he intends to marry Jillia, Luca responds with an Evil Laugh and shouts, "You've got balls, I'll give you that!"
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare can have the player character be regarded as this: during a mission to eliminate the Big Bad of the game, the player character has the opportunity to slip into an area guarded by three Mooks to retrieve a collectible. If the player succeeds, MacMillan notes that they have "the minerals".
  • When you challenge Lt. Surge in Pokémon Yellow he notes you must have "big and brassy nerves" to take him on.
  • In a Shadow of Rome your character fights as a gladiator. When entering the fight, he's presented with a choice of a weapon - sword, mace, or such. Picking none allows you to enter the arena bare-handed and earn the in-game "Big Roman Balls" achievement.
  • A variation on the Elemental Crafting example is a commercial for the video game "World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions." The best hand in poker is called "the nuts." In 2007 the commercial for the video game where 2005 WSOP champ Joe Hachem looks at his cards, then puts down two walnuts in front of him, showing his confidence in his hand. 2000 WSOP champ Chris "Jesus" Ferguson looks at his cards, then slams down two lugnuts that shows how strong Chris thinks HIS hand is. Ladies' WSOP Champ Jennifer Tilly looks at her cards, reaches under the table...and slams down a cannonball in each hand.
  • In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, during the Venice episode, Dimitri says that Sly has serious "fuzzy dice" since Sly broke into a police station.


    Web Original 
  • Cracked has a picture of a doll holding brass balls, at this article.
  • In Danganronpa Abridged Thing, during Ishimaru's argument with Oowada, the following exchange occurs.
    Oowada: Man, you must have some big balls to try telling me what to do, bitch!
    Ishimaru: Precisely! I have brass balls, forged in the line of duty as hall monitor!
  • BlessedTime: When Micah told Eidrak he is challenging Khan Krosst for a duel, one of Khans people said: “You may not yet have hair on your balls.” Eidrak chortled, turning around and waving their party on. “But there is no doubt you are carrying boulders rather than stones in your pants. If you’re foolish enough to challenge the Khan, I’ll take you to him myself. By Ankros’ blood, there’s no way I’d miss this.” Chapter 105

    Western Animation 
  • Bait-and-Switch'd in Futurama, when Zapp Brannigan is talking about the Brain Balls, the rulers of Spheron I:
    Brannigan: They've got a lot of brains, and a lot of [pauses briefly, as if searching for the word; makes cupping gesture] chutzpah.
  • The pilot episode of Beast Wars features Dinobot challenging Optimus Primal for the leadership of the Maximals. Rhinox's response?
    Rhinox: This guy's got bearings of chrome steel.

    Real Life 
  • Due to repeated death-defying actions in World War II, a standard line was that U.S. destroyer captains (and less often British ones too), had a pair of brass balls issued with their captaincy.
    • USS Laffey crippled a battleship at closer than point blank range (less than 20 feet!) then dueled a cruiser and two more destroyers in the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, in November 1942
    • Not to be outdone, Laffey's namesake later in the war survived 5 hours of Kamikaze attacks.
    • At the Battle Off Samar, USS Johnston single handedly charged an entire battleship flotilla (5 battleships, including IJN Yamato), forcing it to turn aside, sinking a cruiser. When It took a ton of fire, the Japanese reported they'd sunk a heavy cruiser, however Johnston actually survived, and used its one remaining gun to support the other, equally brave destroyers and destroyer escorts that charged in after it, and was finally sunk an hour later.
    • In the same battle, USS Samuel B. Roberts, an even smaller Destroyer Escort, engaged two cruisers and three battleships, crippling both cruisers, before succumbing to battleship fire.
    • When the Japanese finally started to retreat, one destroyer captain is reported to have said "Dammit! They're getting away!"
    • The Nazi invasion of Norway. G-class destroyer HMS Glowworm (roughly 1350 tons) encountered a flotilla of destroyers transporting troops to Norway. The German destroyers attempt to disengage, while calling for help, which arrives in the form of the heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper (around 10,000 tons). Glowworm was heavily damaged by Hipper while closing the range (so that her smaller guns would have more effect, and would have a better chance of hitting with her torpedos), and eventually ended the battle by ramming the larger ship after her torpedos missed. The CO of Glowworm was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on the recommendation of the Captain of the Hipper.