posted on Aug, 7 2017 @ 07:45 PM
originally posted by: SprocketUK
Also, cold enough to "freeze the balls off a brass monkey" Comes from the brass frame that the cannon balls were stored in. Pretty much everything
one didn't know the word for was called a monkey by sailors. Brass contracts faster than iron cannon balls in cold weather, when it was cold enough,
the brass shrank so much the cannon balls tumbled off.
As much as I love this story, it's not true. Firstly, there is no known record of cannon balls being stored that way. Not only is it not recorded, it
would be a rather stupid way to store them. Secondly, the earliest known "brass monkey" expressions (as we know them today) didn't mention balls at
all, it was usually body parts such as nose, ear, tail, etc.
However, "monkey" was a term in naval use, and "brass monkeys" was an old name for cannons going back to the 1600s. From what I understand, the terms
were out of use long before we start seeing the recent brass monkey expressions, so it may not connect back to that at all.
As an expression, the "freeze" variant appears to be comparatively modern - early 20th century anyway.
Edited to add: Minor correction, after a bit of research I found references to freezing tails and ears off monkeys, going back to the mid 1800s. No
reference to freezing the balls off until the 20th Century, though.
edit on Ev50MondayMondayAmerica/ChicagoMon, 07 Aug 2017 19:50:24
-05000762017b by EvillerBob because: (no reason given)