monkey

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English[edit]

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A monkey.

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Middle Dutch monnekijn, or Middle Low German Moneke, name of the son of Martin the Ape in Reynard the Fox, a diminutive based off Old Spanish mona (mona monkey), shortening of mamona, variant of maimón, perhaps through Turkish maymun (monkey), from Arabic مَيْمُون (maymūn, baboon). Compare Old French Monequin.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: mŭngki, IPA(key): /ˈmʌŋki/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌŋki

Noun[edit]

monkey (plural monkeys)

  1. Any member of the clade Simiiformes not also of the clade Hominoidea containing humans and apes, from which they are usually, but not universally, distinguished by smaller size, a tail, and cheek pouches.
    He had been visiting an area zoo when a monkey swung from its tree perch, swiped his glasses and hurled them into a hippo hole.
  2. (informal) Any nonhuman primate, including apes.
    Chimpanzees are known to form bands to hunt and kill other monkeys.
  3. (informal) A mischievous child.
    Stop misbehaving, you little monkey!
    She's a cheeky monkey.
    • 1909, Algernon Blackwood, You May Telephone From Here
      "Yes. He gets to Paris at seven in the morning. He promised to telephone the first thing."
      "You expensive little monkey!"
      "Why?"
      "It's ten shillings for three minutes, or something like that, and you have to go to the G.P.O. or the Mansion House or some such place, I believe."
  4. A dance move popular in the 1960s.
  5. (Britain, slang) Five hundred pounds sterling.
  6. (slang) A person or the role of the person on the sidecar platform of a motorcycle involved in sidecar racing.
  7. (slang) A person with minimal intelligence and/or an unattractive appearance
  8. (blackjack) A face card.
  9. (slang) A menial employee who does a repetitive job, as in code monkey, grease monkey, phone monkey, powder monkey.
  10. The weight or hammer of a pile driver; a heavy mass of iron, which, being raised high, falls on the head of the pile, and drives it into the earth; the falling weight of a drop hammer used in forging.
  11. A small trading vessel of the sixteenth century.
  12. (slang) A drug habit; an addiction; a compulsion.
    • 1938, Alfred R. Lindesmith, "Argot of the Underworld Drug Addict", Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 29, Issue 2 (July-August):
      Monkey: a habit, as in "I have a monkey on my back." Usually used when one is sick from lack of drugs.
    • 1949, Nelson Algren, The Man with The Golden Arm:
      "Man, I wasn't hooked, I was crucified. The monkey got so big he was carryin' me. [...] When I hear a junkie tell me he wants to kick the habit but he just can't I know he lies even if he don't know he does. He wants to carry the monkey, he's punishin' hisself for somethin' 'n don't even know it. [...] Then I got forty grains 'n went up to the room 'n went from monkey to nothin' in twenny-eight days 'n that's nine-ten years ago 'n the monkey's dead."
      "The monkey's never dead, Fixer," Frankie told him knowingly.

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Verb[edit]

monkey (third-person singular simple present monkeys, present participle monkeying, simple past and past participle monkeyed or monkied)

  1. (informal) To meddle; to mess with
    Please don't monkey with the controls if you don't know what you're doing.
    • 1920, Peter B. Kyne, The Understanding Heart, Chapter XII
      “As an inventor,” Bob Mason suggested, “you're a howling success at shooting craps! [] Why monkey with weak imitations when you can come close to the original?”
    Synonyms: interfere, fiddle

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