• A Monkey's Memory
    A Monkey's Memory
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v monkey do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly "The old lady is usually mucking about in her little house"
    • v monkey play around with or alter or falsify, usually secretively or dishonestly "Someone tampered with the documents on my desk","The reporter fiddle with the facts"
    • n monkey any of various long-tailed primates (excluding the prosimians)
    • n monkey one who is playfully mischievous
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

A monkey is in the window behind Aunt Thankful A monkey is in the window behind Aunt Thankful
A monkey holding some partially eaten fruit A monkey holding some partially eaten fruit
Doctors Left a Monkey Wrench in Him 025 Doctors Left a Monkey Wrench in Him 025
Imani listens to what the monkeys say Imani listens to what the monkeys say
The Powder Monkey The Powder Monkey

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: In 1953, racecar driver Tim Flock raced at Nascar with a monkey in the seat beside him
    • Monkey A small trading vessel of the sixteenth century.
    • Monkey A term of disapproval, ridicule, or contempt, as for a mischievous child. "This is the monkey's own giving out; she is persuaded I will marry her."
    • Monkey (Zoöl) Any one of numerous species of Quadrumana (esp. such as have a long tail and prehensile feet) exclusive of apes and baboons.
    • Monkey (Zoöl) Any species of Quadrumana, except the lemurs.
    • Monkey (Zoöl) In the most general sense, any one of the Quadrumana, including apes, baboons, and lemurs.
    • Monkey The weight or hammer of a pile driver, that is, a very heavy mass of iron, which, being raised on high, falls on the head of the pile, and drives it into the earth; the falling weight of a drop hammer used in forging.
    • v. t. & i Monkey To act or treat as a monkey does; to ape; to act in a grotesque or meddlesome manner.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Australia has no native monkeys. (in the wild)
    • n monkey A quadrumanous mammal of the order Primates and suborder Anthropoidea; a catarrhine or platyrrhine simian; any one of the Primates except man and the lemurs; an ape, baboon, marmoset, etc. The term is very vague, and has no technical or fixed restriction. Those monkeys which have very short tails and faces are commonly called apes, most of them belonging to the higher family Simiidæ. The monkeys with long faces like dogs are usually termed baboons; they are at the bottom of the series of Old World simians, in the family Cynopithecidæ. The small bushy-tailed monkeys of America are usually known as marmosets. Excluding these, the name monkey applies mainly to long-tailed simians of either hemisphere. All the Old World monkeys, in any sense of the word, are catarrhine, and have 32 teeth, as in man. They constitute two families, Simiidæ and Cynopithecidæ. (See cuts under Cercopithecus, Catarrhina, and Diana, 2.) All the New World monkeys are platyrrhine: there are two families, Cebidæ, with 36 teeth and mostly prehensile tails, and Mididæ or marmosets, with 32 teeth and bushy non-prehensile tails. (See cuts under Cebinæ, Eriodes, and Lagothrix.) The genera of monkeys are about 35 in number, including several that are fossil. The species are particularly numerous in Africa and South America, especially in the tropical parts. There are many, however, in the warmer parts of Asia, and even up to the snow-line; a single one is found in Europe, the Barbary ape, Inuus ecaudatus. (See cut at ape.) Almost all the leading species have specific names in the vernacular as well as their technical scientific designations.
    • n monkey An epithet applied to any one, especially to a boy or girl, in either real or pretended disapproval: sometimes expressing endearment.
    • n monkey A pile-driving instrument with two handles, raised by pulleys, and guided in its descent so as to cause it to fall on the head of a pile and drive it into the ground; a fistuca; a beetlehead.
    • n monkey A sort of power-hammer used in ship-building for driving bolts, composed of a long pig of iron traversing in a groove, which is raised by pulleys, and let fall on the spot required.
    • n monkey A small crucible used in glass-making.
    • n monkey A certain sum of money: in the United States, $500; in Great Britain, £500: used especially in betting.
    • n monkey A kind of bustle formerly worn by women. See the quotation.
    • n monkey Same as water-monkey.
    • n monkey A fluid composed of two parts of chlorhydric acid (generally called spirits of salt by workmen) and one part of zinc, used in soldering. It is applied to the joints to be soldered, and acts both to prevent oxidation when heat is applied and to dissolve any oxid which may have already formed, and which would otherwise prevent the adherence of the solder.
    • n monkey To drink rum or other liquor.
    • monkey To act in an idle or meddlesome manner; trifle; fool: as, don't monkey with that gun.
    • monkey To imitate as a monkey does; ape.
    • n monkey In mining, an appliance for automatically gripping or letting go the rope in rope haulage.
    • n monkey plural In the Australian bush, a sheep-shearer's name for sheep.
    • n monkey A local name for the cinder-notch of the dam in an iron-making blast-furnace, through which the slag or cinder can be allowed to flow out as it accumulates in the smelting process. It is placed on the side of the furnace, and about 30 or 40 inches below the level of the twyers where the blast is introduced in furnaces of modern size.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Three Wise Monkeys have names: Mizaru (See no evil), Mikazaru (Hear no evil), and Mazaru (Speak no evil).
    • n Monkey mungk′i a quadrumanous mammal of the order Primates—the term is loose, and may be conveniently restricted only to all the Primates exclusive of the Anthropoid Apes, thus including the Platyrrhini, or New-World monkeys, and the Catarrhiini, or Old-World monkeys: an ape: a name of contempt, esp. for a mischievous person, also of playful endearment: a heavy weight for driving piles: a large hammer for driving bolts: in betting slang, a sum of 500 pounds, or dollars in U.S.: a fluid consisting of chlor-hydric acid and zinc—generally called spirits of salt—used in the process of soldering
    • v.i Monkey to meddle with anything
    • v.t Monkey to imitate as a monkey does
    • ***


  • Henry James
    “Cats and monkeys; monkeys and cats; all human life is there.”
  • Robert Hughes
    Robert Hughes
    “A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop.”
  • W. S. Gilbert
    “Darwinian man, though well-behaved, at best is only a monkey shaved.”
  • Mark Twain
    “I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey.”
  • W. Winwood Reade
    W. Winwood Reade
    “Artistic genius is an expansion of monkey imitativeness.”
  • Robert Benchley
    Robert Benchley
    “The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.”


Brass monkey - If it's brass monkey weather, or cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey, it is extremely cold.
Get the monkey off your back - If you get the monkey off your back, you pass on a problem to someone else.
Grease monkey - A grease monkey is an idiomatic term for a mechanic.
I'll be a monkey's uncle - I'll be a monkey's uncle is used as an expression of surprise.
Make a monkey of someone - If you make a monkey of someone, you make them look foolish.
Monkey business - If children get up to monkey business, they are behaving naughtily or mischievously. This is the same as 'monkeying around'.
Monkey see, monkey do - This idiom means that children will learn their behaviour by copying what they see happening around them.
Not give a monkey's - (UK) If you couldn't give a monkey's about something, you don't care at all about it.
Slowly, slowly catchy monkey - This means that eventually you will achieve your goal.
Speak to the organ grinder not the monkey - Talk to the boss not the subordinate
Throw a monkey wrench into the works - (USA) If you throw a monkey wrench into the works, you ensure that something fails.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. OIt. monicchio, It. monnino, dim. of monna, an ape, also dame, mistress, contr. fr. madonna,. See Madonna


In literature:

Quirk, the monkey, had remained, on his good behaviour, part and parcel of the crew.
"The Three Midshipmen" by W.H.G. Kingston
How do these monkeys manage it?
"The Forest Exiles" by Mayne Reid
There was excitement in the bungalow that night because of its invasion by a hostile monkey.
"The Great White Tribe in Filipinia" by Paul T. Gilbert
It looks like a monkey, but it is not a monkey.
"Behind the Scenes" by Elizabeth Keckley
So this was a monkey, for although I had never seen a monkey, I had heard of them.
"Nobody's Boy" by Hector Malot
I haven't as many pets as I had, though Jack, the monkey, Mr. Nip, the parrot, and Snuff, the cat, I have kept.
"The Curlytops and Their Playmates" by Howard R. Garis
He'd heard somewhere that a man can eat anything a monkey can, so he wasn't worried about it.
"Cum Grano Salis" by Gordon Randall Garrett
In a word, he looked like a monkey in the face, while no one could possibly have suspected that he was one.
"Little Bobtail" by Oliver Optic
How do these monkeys manage it?
"Popular Adventure Tales" by Mayne Reid
Sometimes the man has a monkey, which always attracts the children.
"The Children's Book of London" by Geraldine Edith Mitton

In poetry:

Poor Gratia, in her twentieth year,
Foreseeing future woe,
Chose to attend a monkey here,
Before an ape below.
"Stanzas - To the Memory of an agreeable Lady, buried in marriage to a Person undeserving her" by William Shenstone
Monkey's an vain magpies chatter,
But it doesn't prove 'em wise;
An it's net wi noise an clatter,
Men o' sense expect to rise.
"Take Heart!" by John Hartley
I want to know—I am willing,
Let me at least have a chance!
Shall I give the monkey-boy my shilling?—
I want to serve at once.
"Willie's Question" by George MacDonald
BUTTERFLY, butterfly, speed through the air,
The ring-bird follows thee fast,
And the monkey looks up with a greedy stare;
Speed on till the peril be past!
"Rhymes For Chanting" by Joanna Baillie
At sixteen you departed,
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies,
And you have been gone five months.
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead.
"The River-Merchant's Wife" by Ezra Pound
I had sworn to end his triumphs, so I followed him last night
I held him up and, gave him a warning
I shot him where the monkey used to gather all his nuts
And I'm off to Philadelphia in the morning.
"The Dampoor Express" by Billy Bennett

In news:

Boy's Beloved Toy, a Monkey Named Ah-Ah Miraculously Returned For Emotional Reunion.
Don't monkey around with Facebook.
Monkey Bread has been around forever, most people remember having it when they were kids.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry: Pumpkin Monkey Bread .
Everything seems to taste better with bacon in it, and that goes for our delicious pull-apart Bacon Monkey Bread .
Watch Monkey Bread Pizza in the Better Homes and Gardens Video.
Nancy Reagan's Persimmon Pudding, Brandy-Whipped Cream Sauce, and Monkey Bread .
Newfound monkey flower reveals evolution in action.
The Kihei Community Association (KCA) announced recently that the County of Maui has accepted the KCA Street Tree Committee's recommendation that the four monkey pod trees on South Kihei Road should not be removed at this time.
Heir throws monkey wrench at zoo city, zoo, park, santa, powell, says, prentice, called, run, private.
NBC throws a monkey wrench into Olympics.
Theatre Uncut at Monkey Wrench Collective,
Terri Mowrey, 'West Side Terri,' Monkey Wrench Collective.
Melanie Gable, The Fever, Monkey Wrench Collective.
Ed Whitacre drops a monkey wrench in a GM IPO.

In science:

It belongs, with k = 2, to the family of biharmonic functions, h = cos kφ/rk−2 with a k -fold dihedral symmetry, obtained by the inversion in a sphere centered at the origin of the harmonic height functions h(k) = rk cos kφ, k ≥ 2, representing k -th order saddles (a monkey saddle is represented by k = 3).
Force dipoles and local defects on flat fluid membranes
Precise spike synchronization in monkey motor cortex involved in preparation for movement.
A model of Poissonian interactions and detection of dependence
C) Adapting the connection between face-4-colorings and edge-3-colorings (for simple cubic planar graphs with no “bridge”) described in paragraph (A) above, one can transcribe the description of “Heawood’s monkey wrench” from its original form (involving face-4colorings) into a form involving edge-3-colorings.
Snarks from a Kaszonyi perspective: a survey
If P is a pentagon in G, then for the quasi-cubic graph G − E (P ), if it is colorable, the “edge-3-coloring” version of “Heawood’s monkey wrench” inevitably has to occur, over and over and over again, simply as a consequence of the fact that G itself cannot be edge-3-colored.
Snarks from a Kaszonyi perspective: a survey
The core idea in Theorem 4.5 and its proof is the repeated application of an edge-3coloring version of “Heawood’s monkey wrench” (see Remark 4.4(B)(C)(D) again).
Snarks from a Kaszonyi perspective: a survey