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Monkey Idioms

Updated on November 26, 2017
Ben Reed profile image

Ben is a semi-retired sixty something, having spent 30 years working within the UK Utility industry. A father of 3 boys and grandad of 3.

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.

Brass Monkey Weather - Idiom
Brass Monkey Weather - Idiom

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
Thinking Ape
Thinking Ape

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.

A Tuxedo

Monkey In A Suit - Idiom
Monkey In A Suit - Idiom

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.

To Monkey Around - Idiom
To Monkey Around - Idiom

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

I hope that you enjoyed this hubpage. Feedback always welcomed.

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    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 3 years ago from Redcar

      @lidialbuquerque: Thank you - It is nice to know that you found this lens useful.

    • lidialbuquerque profile image

      lidialbuquerque 3 years ago

      Very cool and informative! English is my second language and I learned some new idioms in here! Tks!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 3 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Thank you.

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      anonymous 3 years ago

      Nice one I like the Monkey poster and the monkey jewelry too which is about halfway down the page as well. Emerald coloured eye Crouching Brass Tone Monkey lovely.

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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      This was a delightful lens! I enjoyed my visit here!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you

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      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      So adorable.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @anonymous: Thank you - very much appreciated.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I enjoyed this lens.

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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @flinnie lm: Thank you.

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      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I enjoyed reading your lens.

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      Tolovaj Publishing House 4 years ago from Ljubljana

      Learning + fun = my kind of combination!

    • SavioC profile image

      SavioC 4 years ago

      Boy O Boy. Did I enjoy your lens or what ? Really Amazing . And then there is the frog, pig, dog, horse .........to be checked . Great lens. You can add " Steel Monkey" later on ........ Cheers .

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @SavioC: Thank you.

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @Mommy-Bear: Thank you.

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      Mommy-Bear 4 years ago

      Cute lens, I'll take a look at some of your other ones.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      I like the way you have presented this lens with monkey pictures and really enjoyed looking at those idioms :)

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @vinodkpillai lm: Thank you for the visit and comment - I always find that adding a bit of fun is a great way to make learning enjoyable.

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      vinodkpillai lm 4 years ago

      Fun way of learning idioms - thanks!

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @momsfunny: Thank you - very much appreciated.

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      momsfunny 4 years ago

      Nicely done! :)

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      @alenmic: Thank you.

    • alenmic profile image

      alenmic 4 years ago

      I always love idioms. Great lens.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      It is a nice and funny lens.

    • PennyHowe profile image

      PennyHowe 5 years ago

      There's no monkey on your back! Loved your lens. Thanks for the great pictures and fun idioms.

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      Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      I love monkeys, and enjoyed the lens, so here are some Angel blessings

    • Ben Reed profile image
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      Ben Reed 5 years ago from Redcar

      @Gloriousconfusion: Thank you for your visit and blessing of this lense. Always appreciated.

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      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Fun article! Enjoyed it thoroughly.

    • livinglargeandh profile image

      livinglargeandh 5 years ago

      Ha. This lens is right up my alley. We had several monkeys as kids. And...I have another idiom re monkeys for you--I remember it from Spanish class: "Aunque la mona se vista de seda, mona se queda." It translates loosely as: "A monkey in a silk suit is still a monkey."

    • angelsigh profile image

      angelsigh 5 years ago

      Cool lens :D

    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 5 years ago

      This was fun! Thanks for sharing!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I kept thinking I had one but then I saw you had it here, always fun to take a walk through your animal idioms...just monkeying around!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love your idiom lenses--they're great fun!

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      Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very clever...love this lens.

    • garyrh1 profile image

      garyrh1 6 years ago

      Haha. Not give a monkey's. Hmmm... I haven't heard that one :)

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      Shelly Sellers 6 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      It has been awhile since I heard "Monkey see, Monkey do"! You have a fun sense of humor :)

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 6 years ago

      I did enjoy it indeed! In fact, I thought of a couple of monkey idioms that you don't have. "Throw a monkey wrench into your plans" is one, and "monkey rig" something is the other.

      On an aside, there was a popular song in the 60's that had the refrain: "Peel me a 'nanner, toss me a peanut, I'll come a swingin' from a coconut tree. Peel me a 'nanner, toss me a peanut, you sure made a monkey outta me."

      Nice job - I really liked this one, too!