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Brass monkey (colloquial expression) The Brass Monkey of Stanthorpe, Queensland - the place known for its "brass monkey weather", complete with a set of balls The phrase "cold enough to freeze the balls off (or on) a brass monkey" is a colloquial expression used by some English speakers.

Brass monkey (colloquial expression)

The reference to the testes (as the term balls is commonly understood to mean) of the brass monkey appears to be a 20th-century variant on the expression, prefigured by a range of references to other body parts, especially the nose and tail. During the 19th and 20th centuries, small monkeys cast from the alloy brass were very common tourist souvenirs from China and Japan. They usually, but not always, came in a set of three representing the Three Wise Monkeys carved in wood above the Shrine of Toshogu in Nikkō, Japan.

These monkeys were often cast with all three in a single piece. The History of English Phonemes. The History of English in 10 Minutes. Anglo-Saxon Metrical Charms. Anglo-Saxon, or Old English, metrical charms were generally written to magically heal or fix a situation, disease, etc.

Anglo-Saxon Metrical Charms

Usually, these charms give instructions involving some sort of physical action, including making a medical potion, repeating a certain set of words, or writing a specific set of words on an object. These Anglo-Saxon charms tell a great deal about medieval medical theory and practice. Although most medical texts found from the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxon period are translations of Classical texts in Latin, these charms were originally written in Old English.

Undley bracteate. Coordinates: The Undley bracteate is a 5th-century bracteate found in Undley Common, near Lakenheath, Suffolk.

Undley bracteate

It bears the earliest known inscription that can be argued to be in Anglo-Frisian Futhorc (as opposed to Common Germanic Elder Futhark). The image on the bracteate is an adaptation of an Urbs Roma coin type issued by Constantine the Great, conflating the helmeted head of the emperor and the image of Romulus and Remus suckled by the wolf on one face. With a diameter of 2.3 cm, it weighs 2.24 grams. Pseudo-anglicism.

Pseudo-anglicisms are related to false friends or false cognates.


Many speakers of a language which employs pseudo-anglicisms believe that the relevant words are genuine anglicisms and can be used in English, which may cause misunderstandings. When many English words are incorporated into many languages, language enthusiasts and purists often look down on this phenomenon, terming it (depending on the importing language) Denglisch, Franglais or similar neologisms. Online Etymology Dictionary.

Atlas of True Names. Of the familiar terms on today's maps of the World, Europe, the British Isles, Canada and the United States.

Atlas of True Names

For instance, where you would normally expect to see the Sahara indicated, the Atlas gives you "The Tawny One", derived from Arab. es-sahra “the fawn coloured, desert”. The 'True Names' of 3000 cities, countries, rivers, oceans and mountain ranges are displayed on these four fascinating maps, each of which includes a comprehensive index of derivations. Etymology, (OGr. etymon “true sense” and logos “speech, oration, discourse, word”) is the study of the origin and history of words. Etymologically Speaking... From the old Arabic word "hashshshin," which meant, "someone who is addicted to hash," that is, marijuana.

Etymologically Speaking...

Originally refered to a group of warriors who would smoke up before battle. Aaron White adds: You may want to explore the fact that the hashshshins were somewhat of a voodoo-ized grand conspiracy scapegoat cult (the very fact of their existence is impossible to confirm). Crimson worm rhapsody. Crimson worm rhapsody Between you and me, I keep finding that just when I'm beginning once again to be prepared to trust etymologists, they go and do something that makes me want to forget about it again.

Crimson worm rhapsody

I can definitely believe that worm and crimson have a common source: there's the crucial [r] and [m] as the main consonant sounds in the root, and we know that crimson pigment was made from worms so there's a meaning connection, and I'm just beginning to develop some trust... and then they tell me that rhapsody is also a derivative of the same Indo-European root (really, it does say that under wer-2, and also under wed-2, in the American Heritage Dictionary appendix on Indo-European roots — Mark didn't just slip that one in to see if you were paying attention this morning).

Rhapsody. AmericanEnglishDialects.gif (GIF Image, 2717x2342 pixels) - Scaled (26%) Do You Speak American. The Pop vs. Soda Page.