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View Full Version : OT: Balls off a Brass Monkey! - Where Do These Old Sayings Come From? Q&A



Realjambo
06-03-2007, 12:51 PM
"Cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey"....No, not a phrase liable to get me a Moderators Warning (I guess a Moderator can warn another Moderator http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif) but a well known saying - but what does it mean? where did it come from?

I propose a thread for such old sayings, and hopefully we can nail down their origins. If you think about it, there a dozens!

To explain the 'Brass Monkey's' one above to those that don't know, it stems from the Navy a couple of hundred years ago. When the weather got cold enough the brass (monkey) plate that the cannon balls were stacked on would frost up and the cannon balls would slide off. Voila - old saying explained.

So, let's have your sayings, and hopefully, your explanations too if you know them - or perhaps someone will provide an explanation for you.....

Realjambo
06-03-2007, 12:51 PM
"Cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey"....No, not a phrase liable to get me a Moderators Warning (I guess a Moderator can warn another Moderator http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif) but a well known saying - but what does it mean? where did it come from?

I propose a thread for such old sayings, and hopefully we can nail down their origins. If you think about it, there a dozens!

To explain the 'Brass Monkey's' one above to those that don't know, it stems from the Navy a couple of hundred years ago. When the weather got cold enough the brass (monkey) plate that the cannon balls were stacked on would frost up and the cannon balls would slide off. Voila - old saying explained.

So, let's have your sayings, and hopefully, your explanations too if you know them - or perhaps someone will provide an explanation for you.....

Celeon999
06-03-2007, 01:03 PM
"I was full like ten russians" http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Explanation : You can answer that yourself http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

or alternatively

"I was full like a beach howitzer"

Explanation : Howitzers on beaches were camouflaged with blue paint.


Can "blue" be used as a synonym for "drunk" in english ? In german it is. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

GoldenEagle8
06-04-2007, 01:47 PM
I learned were flipping people off came from recently, should I say, or does everyone already know?

K_Freddie
06-04-2007, 02:55 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Celeon999:
Can "blue" be used as a synonym for "drunk" in english ? In german it is. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

In Oz, a 'blue' is a fight/punch-up AFAIK. sometimes just for the hell of it. "Wanna blue, mate?", maybe some Roos can tell us http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

bunkerratt
06-18-2007, 11:27 AM
"the whole nine yards" u.s. fighter planes during the 2nd world war .50 ammunition belts were 27 feet long .....so if a pilot fired all the ammo in his weapons he gave um "the whole nine yards"

wm4668
06-18-2007, 11:35 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GoldenEagle8:
I learned were flipping people off came from recently, should I say, or does everyone already know? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

English Longbowmen at the time of Agincourt and the French means of ensuring those captured and released could take no further part in the War?

bunkerratt
06-18-2007, 11:41 AM
the term arose from the longbowmen raising the finger ..as a sign they could still "pluk yew"

Realjambo
06-18-2007, 12:16 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">"the whole nine yards" u.s. fighter planes during the 2nd world war .50 ammunition belts were 27 feet long .....so if a pilot fired all the ammo in his weapons he gave um "the whole nine yards" </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I didn't know that one, nice one BR! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

"He bought the farm"

Apparently come from if US aviators crashed into a farm land, the USAF were obliged to pay the farmer compensation - hence the pilot 'bought the farm'

bunkerratt
06-18-2007, 12:31 PM
bought the farm....actually when a service man died the insurance payments "bought the farm "

Realjambo
06-18-2007, 12:40 PM
Cheers BR http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

geoffwessex
06-18-2007, 12:57 PM
Not widely known, but the Walrus aircraft, which appears in SH3, was known by the Fleet Air Arm as the "Shagbat'!

wm4668
06-19-2007, 05:55 AM
For those of us playing SH4

"Taking a Balao" or "Posted to Fremantle" - taking early retirement! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

wm4668
06-19-2007, 02:40 PM
On a more serious note, what about the exclamation "Gordon Bennett!", used when confronted by something unbelievable - the roots are HERE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Gordon_Bennett%2C_Jr.)

gsc67
06-20-2007, 06:03 PM
My dad ( who passed many moons ago ) use to say to us boys ( there were four of us ) when he got ticked at something we did...He would scream " Cut the happy horse sh*t !! "... To this day I never understood that one !

hueywolf123
06-28-2007, 06:17 AM
In oz, a blue is also a bloke with red hair.
G'day Bluey!
Bum nuts = eggs, Cows eggs = milk.

More fun than a kick in the shins http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

tuddley3
06-29-2007, 10:15 PM
How about this one, "Close, but no cigar"

Also there is one close to RJ's " Colder than a witches tit in Nebraska" U didn't know there were witches there ?

And another one, "Thats close enough for Government Work"

I don't know the origins of these, but maybe BR has the answers, he is doing good so far. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/10.gif I think he has a book of explanations.

bunkerratt
06-29-2007, 11:19 PM
lol...close but no cigar comes from the days of the traveling carnival shows where you smacked the pad on a pole type set up to move the weight up a scale on the pole a bell was at the top if ya made the weight to the top and hit the bell you won a cigar if it didn't ya "was close but no cigar" http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

hueywolf123
06-30-2007, 07:24 AM
I hope your chooks turn into emus and kick your dunny down.

I'll translate later, have a guess first

bunkerratt
06-30-2007, 08:25 AM
"under the weather" in days gone by when folks felt seasick they were told to go below decks and find a spot midships where the motion was less noticable in that way they took themselves "under the weather"