One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Used in phrases to refer to extremely cold weather.‘it's brass monkey weather tonight’
Mid 19th century: often said to be from a type of brass rack or ‘monkey’ in which cannonballs were stored and which contracted in very cold weather, ejecting the balls, but this explanation has not been proved.
brass monkey/ˈˌbras ˈməNGkē/
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