'You know now' I found this on MILITARY.COM. I have added some more at the bottom. Do you know any more. Posted Wed 12 February 2003 07:03 Betcha didn't know this! In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon, but how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was 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 or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a "Monkey" with 16 round indentations. 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 an improper expression, didn't you?) You must send this fabulous bit of historical knowledge to at least ten unsuspecting friends. If you don't, your floppy is going to fall off your hard drive and kill your mouse. Cherry Here are some more from me EAGLE1. The phrase 'scape- goat' comes from an ancient ritual whereby a village would get a goat and then all the people in the village would take it in turns to place their hands onto the goats head. They would recite all of their problems onto to the goat. when they all had finished the goat was allowed to escape into the mountains, taking all of the troubles of the village with it. Hence the phrase 'scape goat'. Crossing the Line and Towing the Line. these two phrases come from the houses of parliment where there two lines on the floor on each side of the house. In times when the members of parliment would have swords the lines were meant to keep two people engaged in heated discussion apart. The lines were set so that when both people held out their sword at arms lenght the tips of their swords would not reach the other person. So if anyone was said to be 'toe-ing the line' it meant that they were engaged in a heated discussion (IE doing something). Likewise if someone was said to be 'crossing the line' it meant that they were pushing the boundaries set by the house. Do you know any more common sayings and where they originate from?