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Brass monkey

  1. Mar 4, 2005 #1
    Does anyone know where the tearm "freezing the balls off a brass monkey" came from?

    I have found a few clames but they have diffrent origins... Help! =-)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 4, 2005 #2


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    It is my understanding that underneath the pyramids of cannon balls seen in drawings of 17th and 18th century military camps was a form called a brass monkey. When it got very cold, due to thermal contraction,the cannon balls, would become to small to remain on the from (brass monkey).

    Thus "cold enough to freeze the (cannon) balls off of a brass monkey.
  4. Mar 5, 2005 #3
    By coincidence, someone told me the above explanation about an hour ago. I was amazed, as I had just presumed it was just a slightly surreal saying.
  5. Mar 7, 2005 #4
    Thats the same explanation I found... The problem is that a "Brass Monkey" is a cannon... Also if it got cold one night and a pile of cannon balls fell over... Would they not change the design of the plate? It just does not make sence. Also I highly doubt that the thermal contraction of a cannon ball or the contraction of a brass plate would be enough ficilitate the pile falling over....

    Therefore.... I need a better explanation =-)
  6. Mar 7, 2005 #5


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