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Used in phrases to refer to extremely cold weather.‘it's brass monkey weather tonight’
- ‘It got cold on the gun decks and the indentations in the brass monkey would get smaller than the iron cannonballs they were holding.’
- ‘Similarly, pack your thermals, because it's colder than a brass monkey's ice lolly.’
- ‘The entire cab area can be hosed out after a good day bush bashing, while the creature comforts included air conditioning good enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’
- ‘Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!’’
- ‘Actually the weather today is much milder than yesterday when it was cold enough to freeze the spheres off a brass monkey (an old sea-faring expression).’
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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