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Origins of Cold as Balls and Cold as a Witch’s Teet

Someone asked the question “Where did the term cold as balls come from and why do they say it?” That got us to thinking about another saying, Cold as a Witch’s tit. We had our mission.

Man It’s Cold as Balls!

Cold as balls is an interesting term. My daughter even says it! You hear it all the time but most guys then respond with; “My balls aren’t cold, so what the heck does cold as balls mean?” Cold as balls as it’s referred to in the urban dictionary suggests that Cold as Balls is; “Describing something that is so cold it makes your balls shrivel”. Some say it’s just a new version of Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey. 

The term Cold as Balls is not what you think. It's an interesting tale.
The term Cold as Balls is not what you think. It’s an interesting tale.

Additional references indicate that back in the day there were brass triangles that supported stacks of iron cannon-balls on sailing ships that  were called monkeys. In cold weather the metal contracted, causing the balls to fall off the triangle. That makes too much sense.  And how about the opposite Hot as Balls. Most men can relate to  that one so we’re not going to go there right now.

The only consensus to the explanation of this expression is that there is no consensus.

Cold as a Witch’s Tit (Teet)

Back to Urban Dictionary. Now for those fans of American Horror Story, witches are nothing like they were described back in Salem, Massachusetts. They were hot babes. Nonetheless, witches typically are categorized more as the Halloween like hags of night brewing cauldrons of neut with a high pitched shrieky voice.

Back in Salem during the 1600’s, Witch’s were portrayed as old hags with wrinkly skin and icy blood.  So the phrase “…colder than a witch’s tit…” was used during very cold weather because of the reference to their cold blood and skin.

The term cold as a witches tit goes back to the days of the Salem Witches
The term cold as a witches tit goes back to the days of the Salem Witches

A few sources quote that a witch’s tit (or witch’s teat) supposedly left a marking that witch hunters and courts would look for on the body of an accused witch. Supposedly, witches would suckle their familiars, and sometimes the Devil himself, from this “unholy” body part. To find these marks, as well as insensitive spots on the skin called devil’s marks–caused by the Devil’s claws or teeth–the suspects were stripped, shaven, then closely examined for any blemishes, moles, or even scars that could be labeled as diabolical.

To find marks invisible to the eye, the examiner would poke the victim inch by inch with a blunt needle (called a bodkin) until they found a spot that didn’t feel pain or bled. Discovery of these marks or spots–one supposes they would be considered cold since they were a sign of communion with the Devil–would be “proof” of the person’s dealings with Scratch, so they would be shown in full court before the execution.

Who Told You?

What were you told?
Are there any other phrases that identify weather (hot or cold)?

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