On board old Navy, square rigged, sailing ships, the magazine where the gun powder was stored was usually quite some distance from the guns. Getting through the hatches and dark companion ways you would need to be fast, agile and quite small; like a monkey. Young boys were ideal for the task so there was at least one boy in every gun team and these became know as "powder monkeys".
By SailingQuiz October 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does A powder monkey mean?
What is the nautical origin of the phrase "A powder monkey"?
Definition of the nautical phrase "A powder monkey".