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What is an Idiom?
There are a several idioms that are related to Monkeys and whilst some have negative undertones, some can be positive and complimentary.
An idiom is a phrase or an expression that should not be taken literally. For when you use an idiom in everyday language, then it has a different meaning than the basic meaning or definition of the words as found in a dictionary.
An example of this might be "Get your skates on." If taken literally, then you are being told to put on your skates. However, this phrase, or idiom is often used by someone who is telling you hurry up.
Monkey Idioms numbers 1 to 5
1. A Monkey On Your Back.
To say that there is serious problem that you cannot forget or get of. Descibes a vexing problem or burden that won't go away.
Usually used to describe a situation where you have a persistent problem of burden to bear. An example would be: "Trust me, you don't want to get into debt. You could do without that Monkey on your back".
2. Monkey Business.
A way of saying that you should stop messing around. Be less silly, mischievous or deceitful.
To settle down and stop the monkey business.
An example might be: "I told you that lawyer wasn't been straight with you. There is some monkey business going on here".
3. If You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkey's.
To way of saying that you only get what you pay for.
If you pay silly, low wages, then you are likely to only attract silly or low skilled people.
So why the reference to "Peanuts", I hear you say. Well, peanuts is a slang term for low wages. While monkeys is often used to refer to stupidity.
4. Grease Monkey.
A way of describing a mechanic who works on automobiles or airplanes.
An example might be: "I took my bike to see my usual grease monkey, he did a great job repairing it, as usual".
5. Brass Monkey Weather
A way of saying that it is extremely cold.
This idiom is thought to have its origins in the brass rack (called a monkey) that used to store cannonballs. If very cold weather, the cannonballs would contract in size and fall of the rack.
Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey.— Malcom De Chazal
A song parody about animal idioms - From Pacifica High Schools Spring Plays Festival
Monkey Idioms Numbers 6 to 10
6. Make a Monkey Out Of.
To make a person appear foolish or silly.
7. I'll be a Monkey's Uncle.
A way of saying that something is very unlikely.
8. Funny as a Barrel of Monkey's.
To be extremely funny.
9. Not Give a Monkey's.
A way of saying that you do not care about something at all.
10. Monkey Suit.
Monkey Idioms from BBC Learning - YouTube
Monkey Idioms numbers 11 to 15
11. Monkey See, Monkey Do.
An idiom that means: To imitate someone. Children often copy - imitate the behaviours of their parents.
12. To Monkey with Something.
An idiom used to describe a person interfering or bothering with something or someone.
An example would be: "I told you not to do that! Stop monkeying around".
13. Softly, Softly Catchee Monkey.
A way of saying caution is the best way to achieve an end.
14. Cheeky Monkey.
A way of saying that someone is being playful or mischievous.
15. Powder Monkey.
The name given to an explosives expert. The source of this idiom is from a nautical term. It was the name given to the person who used to carry gun powder from the ships magazine to the gun deck.
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.— Robert Wilensky, American Computer Scientist, 1951 - 2013