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ORIGINS

Discussion in 'That's JACKED UP!' started by Panhead0422, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Panhead0422

    Panhead0422 Council Member

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    Have you ever wondered where the term "cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey" came from? I can not vouch for the authenticity of this answer but it is one that sounds plausible to me.
    It began when the first sailing ships started mounting cannon for warfare and defense against piracy. As you probably know, cannon balls were of course round and rolled across the deck quite easily with the motions of the ship while it was underway or with the motion of the ship at anchor when the weather was rough. Under adverse conditions a heavy cannon ball or balls rolling unrestrained could damage the ship or ship's personell. Many methods were tried to solve this problem. The best solution turned out to be storing the cannon balls on a flat piece of iron with indentations in it that were deep enough to keep the cannon balls from rolling around. It was even possibly to carefully stack several layers of cannonballs vertically freeing up space for other things such as cargo. For some reason lost to history or my faulty memory, this peice of iron was called a monkey. Over the years it was discovered that Iron combined with water (especially saltwater) caused rust that ruined both the bottom layer of cannon balls and eventually caused the monkey to fail. This created the problem of cannon balls rolling around the deck again. A solution to this problem turned out to be a simple change of materials to brass. Brass does not rust or cause rust. Thus was born the Brass Monkey. Alas, in extremely cold climates it was discovered that brass contracts, sometimes enough that the cannonballs would roll off of the monkey. Thus was born the expression "cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey.

    Please feel free your versions of the origins of other words or phrases. It does not matter if they are humorous, serious or somewhere in between.
     
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  2. PhilFish

    PhilFish Administrator Staff Member

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    agree
     
  3. Panhead0422

    Panhead0422 Council Member

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    Thank you.
     

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