Posted by Martingeraghty on May 16, 2001
In Reply to: Brass monkey, cold enough to freeze the balls off a posted by Israel Cohen on May 13, 2001
: cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey
:When I went to school this expression was explained in terms of the British navy in the 19th century----monkeys were devices for carrying small cannon balls . These devices were made of brass and got their name from the ==================================================
: A Semitic word for brass is peh-lamed-zaiyin
: PeLeZ. Most Arabic dialects use B for P, so
: that sounds like bells or BaLLS.
: A Semitic word for "shudder" is peh-lamed-tzadi
: PeLeTZ = shudder (as from cold). Compare palsy:
: 2. any of a variety of atonal muscular conditions
: characterized by tremors of the body parts or of
: the entire body.
: kuf-feh-(vav)oo-aleph KaFoo? = freeze/frozen
: kuf-(vav)oo-feh KooF = monkey
: So, the Semitic equivalent of "brass monkey"
: is a near homonym for, and therefore a pun on,
: the Semitic equivalent of "shudder-frozen".
: That is, with translations in [brackets],
: PeLeTZ [shudder/palsy] KaFoo? [frozen]
: BaLLS oFF
: PeLeZ [brass] KooF [monkey]
: What we have here is the transliterated sound of
: "shudder-freeze" [probably in Arabic] followed by
: its translation into English: brass monkey.
: Israel Cohen