Thread: Son of a Gun
11-14-2007, 04:34 AM #1
Son of a Gun
In British naval slang the term referred to a child of "questionable parentage" conceived on the gun deck, hence 'son of a gun'. However, children born on board British naval vessels to enlisted men were referred to as a 'true son of a gun'. Admiral William Henry Smyth wrote in his 1867 book, the Sailor's Word-book:
Son of a gun, an epithet conveying contempt in a slight degree, and originally applied to boys born afloat, when women were permitted to accompany their husbands to sea; one admiral declared he literally was thus cradled, under the breast of a gun-carriage.
When a Royal Navy vessel entered a port it was common for local prostitutes to visit the ship. The sailors and prostitutes then had sexual relations, usually on one of the gun decks beside the many guns carried, one of the few places Able and Ordinary Seaman could obtain some sort of privacy. Should the prostitute subsequently fall pregnant by the sailor, she would then attempt to obtain compensation from the father or the navy for the upkeep of the child. This was usually not forthcoming and the father's name would be withheld. When it was fairly certain that the child had been conceived upon board one of His Majesty's vessels, the infant would be entered into the ship's records as 'child born to gun number X', the X denoting the gun position the sailor responsible for the errant behavior was allocated-to, his name being omitted to maintain probity. These children born in this manner had no father's name on any official records and the male ones were referred to by knowing sailors as being 'sons of guns', a term denoting illegitimacy and contempt. . . . .
11-14-2007, 04:36 AM #2
freeze the balls off a brass monkey
"Freeze the Balls off a Brass Monkey", ergo:
It was necessary to keep a good supply of canon balls near the cannon on war ships. But how to prevent them from rolling about the deck was the
problem. The best storage method devised was to stack them as a square based pyramid, with one ball on top, resting on four, resting on nine,
which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.
There was only one problem -- how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding/rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate with 16 round indentations, called a Monkey. But if this plate was made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make Brass Monkeys.
Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannon balls would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. And all this time, you thought that was a vulgar expression, didn't you?
11-14-2007, 09:16 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- Lake Dunlap, Texas
I think this needs to be filled under the performance forum since it refers to someone's performance. Which one I have no idea.
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