1721, "alloy of copper and tin," from Fr. bronze, from It. bronzo, from M.L. bronzium. Perhaps cognate (via notion of color) with Venetian bronza "glowing coals," or Ger. brunst "fire." Perhaps influenced by L. Brundisium the It. town of Brindisi (Pliny writes of aes Brundusinum). Perhaps ultimately from Pers. birinj "copper." In M.E., the distinction between bronze (copper-tin alloy) and brass (copper-zinc alloy) was not clear, and both were called bras. A bronze medal was given to a third-place finisher since at least 1852. The Bronze Age (1865) falls between the Stone and Iron ages, and is a reference to the principal material for making weapons and ornaments.