- An example of a monkey is an animal found in the zoo eating bananas.
- An example of a monkey is a child who is being very silly.
- any of several families of Old and New World primates usually having a flat, hairless face and a long tail
- loosely any of other, similar primates, as a gibbon or chimpanzee
- the fur of some species of long-haired monkeys
- a person regarded as somehow like a monkey, as a mischievous or imitative child
- any of various mechanical devices, as the iron block raised and dropped in a pile driver
Origin of monkeyEarly ModE, probably from or akin to Middle Low German Moneke, name applied in the beast epic Reynard the Fox to the son of Martin the Ape from French or Spanish mona, ape from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Arabic maim?n, ape, literally , lucky (euphemism: the ape was regarded as the devil) + Low German -ke, -kin
a monkey on one's backSlang
- addiction to a drug
- any trying, burdensome obsession, problem, etc.
make a monkey (out) of
- a. Any of various tailed primates of the suborder Anthropoidea, including the macaques, baboons, capuchins, and marmosets, and excluding the apes.b. A nonhuman ape. Not in scientific use.
- One who behaves in a way suggestive of a monkey, as a mischievous child or a mimic.
- The iron block of a pile driver.
- Slang A person who is mocked, duped, or made to appear a fool: They made a monkey out of him.
- Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a person with dark skin.
verbmon·keyed, mon·key·ing, mon·keys
- To play, fiddle, trifle, or tamper with something: Who was monkeying with my cell phone?
- To behave in a mischievous or apish manner: Stop monkeying around!
Origin of monkeyPerhaps ultimately from Middle Low German Moneke name of a young ape in the beast epic Reynke de Vos (“Reynard the Fox”) shortening of Simoneke diminutive ( used in punning reference to Latin sīmia ape, monkey ; see simian . ) of the Middle High German name Simon ( equivalent to English Simeon ) ( Simon )
- 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.
- (informal) A mischievous child.
- Stop misbehaving, you little monkey!
- (UK, slang) Five hundred pounds sterling.
- (slang) A person or the role of the person on the sidecar platform of a motorcycle involved in sidecar racing.
- (slang) A person with minimal intelligence and/or (bad) looks.
- (blackjack) A face card.
- (slang) A menial employee who does a repetitive job.
- 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.
- A small trading vessel of the sixteenth century.
(third-person singular simple present monkeys, present participle monkeying, simple past and past participle monkeyed or monkied)
From Middle Low German Moneke (compare Old French Monequin), name of the son of Martin the Ape in Reynard the Fox, from Old Spanish mona 'mona monkey', shortening of mamona, variant of maimÃ³n, from Arabic Ù…ÙŠÙ…ÙˆÙ† (maimÅ«n) 'monkey', literally 'blessed', used to ward off the monkey's bad luck.