Jackspeak of the Royal Canadian Navy

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Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

In the days of sailing ships, cannon balls were often stacked in what was called a monkey, usually made of brass. When the weather got really cold the monkeys, being brass, would contract at a different rate than the iron of the cannonballs, forcing the cannon balls to fall onto the ship's deck. (A well-known, but far-fetched explanation.)

Added: 2014-11-01 Last modified: 2014-11-01

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