What Does A Brass Monkey Really Have To Do With Cold Weather?
There are a lot of ways to say "It's Cold". There are even more ways to say "It's really cold". Here lately we've been in that "really cold" category and I have to admit I have had more discussions involving brass monkeys than any other time in recent history.
For most of my life, the phrase about a brass monkey and its balls has been just as hard to figure out as a Starbucks menu. I know there's a disgusting cocktail called a brass monkey but what about the cold weather monkey?
Here's the myth, the mystery, and the deflating truth about it being "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey". Let's get one thing clear we are not talking about anything vulgar.
The brass monkey in question is linked to a nautical term used to describe a rack that would hold cannon balls on the deck of a ship. The rack was called a "brass monkey" because it was made of brass. I don't know where they got the monkey part from.
According to legend when the weather would get very cold the brass would contract like many metals do in cold temperatures. This contraction would make the rack too small to support the cannon balls and thus the weather would "freeze the balls off a brass monkey".
The truth? Brass wouldn't contract fast enough or just enough in general for that to actually happen. There is also no particular record of a cannonball rack actually being referred to as a "brass monkey".
And so another fabled phrase that people use to describe the cold has been debunked and now you know. My next job, I need to go find a witch and ask if we could take the temperature of her cleavage.