the organ grinder, not the monkey

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Street organ grinders historically used monkeys to perform tricks and attract interest and money.

Noun[edit]

the organ grinder, not the monkey

  1. The person who is in charge, rather than a lackey or representative.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Most often used with speak to or talk to: "I want to speak to the organ grinder, not the monkey!"