powder monkey



(formerly) a boy employed on warships to carry gunpowder from the magazine to the guns.

Origin of powder monkey

First recorded in 1675–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for powder monkey

Historical Examples of powder monkey

  • Then you must be a powder-monkey with me; you can hand powder up, if you can do nothing else.

    The King's Own

    Captain Frederick Marryat

  • This being thus, we therefore clearly see The Powder-Monkey heads some pedigree.

    A Phenomenal Fauna

    Carolyn Wells

  • I would have been rather an English powder-monkey or a swab in that great victory than an emperor out of it.

    The Admiral

    Douglas Sladen

  • So I put him down again, and there was his little lordship as busy as any powder-monkey, handing up the powder to the gunners.

  • Only two days since I met him swaggering on the beach, and he threatened to impress me on the Tartar for a powder-monkey.

British Dictionary definitions for powder monkey

powder monkey


(formerly) a boy who carried powder from the magazine to the guns on warships
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012