Brass Monkey Question:

My Grandfather often used the phrase “It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey!”. I asked him about this several years ago, and he told me that it was an old sailors’ term from the time of wooden ships, and had something to do with cannons… Is this true, and what was it referring to?


Vidi Vici Veni!

Partly, a brass monkey is a form made from brass, used to stack cannon balls. These would typically be used in front of a courthouse or battle field for display purposes.

Cold weather can cause expansion, contraction enough to dislodge the cannon balls, thus the expression “cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.”

In a nutshell, no, it isn’t. For details:

Brass monkey, that funky monkey!

Got this dance that’s more than real
Drink Brass Monkey, here’s how you feel
Put your left leg down, your right leg up
Tilt your head back, let’s finish the cup
MCA with the bottle - D rocks the can
Adrock gets nice with Charlie Chan
We’re offered Moet, we don’t mind Chivas
Wherever we go with bring the Monkey with us
Adrock drinks three, Mike D is D.
Double-R foots the bill most definitely
I drink Brass Monkey and I rock well
I got a castle in Brooklyn
That’s where I dwell!
Obviously, a Brass Monkey is a drink. The Beastie Boys say so.

Yes it is a drink…

Equal parts rum and vodka, topped with orange juice.

It is also available premixed at your local liquor store.

Buy your own ball frezin Brass Monkey here

An Australian euphemism for this is “freeze the walls off a bark humpy” (a humpy is an Aboriginal lean-to hut).