One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A boy employed on a sailing warship to carry powder to the guns.
- ‘But several captains wrote to support the women, whom they said had been seamstresses, medical assistants and even powder monkeys.’
- ‘Britain is at war with France, and being a powder monkey is one of the most dangerous jobs - Sam's predecessor was blown to smithereens.’
- ‘But Gaston, despite this, had never known true hunger, because from the day he learnt to walk, had been employed upon a ship as a powder monkey, and his father as an able seaman.’
- ‘The powder monkeys stood ready to begin their task and Captain John Cooke and his officers paced the quarter deck or at their respective stations.’
- 1.1North American informal A person who works with explosives.
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