Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

monkey

play
noun mon·key \ˈməŋ-kē\

Simple Definition of monkey

  • : a type of animal that is closely related to apes and humans and that has a long tail and usually lives in trees

  • : a person (especially a child) who causes trouble in a playful way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of monkey

plural

monkeys

  1. 1 :  a nonhuman primate mammal with the exception usually of the lemurs and tarsiers; especially :  any of the smaller longer-tailed catarrhine or platyrrhine primates as contrasted with the apes

  2. 2 a :  a person resembling a monkey b :  a ludicrous figure :  dupe

  3. 3 :  any of various machines, implements, or vessels; especially :  the falling weight of a pile driver

  4. 4 :  a desperate desire for or addiction to drugs —often used in the phrase monkey on one's back; broadly :  a persistent or annoying encumbrance or problem

Examples of monkey in a sentence

  1. He's quite a cheeky little monkey, isn't he?

  2. <I've got this monkey on my back, and going to detox is the only way to get it off.>



Origin and Etymology of monkey

probably of Low German origin; akin to Moneke, name of an ape, probably of Romance origin; akin to Old Spanish mona monkey


First Known Use: circa 1530

Other Mammals Terms


2

monkey

verb mon·key

Definition of monkey

monkeyed

monkeying

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  mimic, mock

  3. intransitive verb
  4. 1 :  to act in a grotesque or mischievous manner

  5. 2 a :  fool, trifle —often used with around <he likes to monkey around with engines> b :  tamper —usually used with with <don't monkey with the settings>



Circa 1568

First Known Use of monkey

circa 1568



MONKEY Defined for Kids

1

monkey

play
noun mon·key \ˈməŋ-kē\

Definition of monkey for Students

plural

monkeys

  1. :  a furry animal of warm regions that has a long tail and that along with the apes is most closely related to humans




2

monkey

play
verb mon·key

Definition of monkey for Students

monkeyed

monkeying

  1. 1 :  to spend time in an idle or aimless way <We just monkeyed around in the gym.>

  2. 2 :  to handle secretly or in a careless or incorrect way <He didn't want anyone monkeying with the cash register … — George Selden, The Cricket in Times Square>




Medical Dictionary

monkey

play
noun mon·key \ˈməŋ-kē\

Medical Definition of monkey

  1. :  a nonhuman primate mammal with the exception usually of the lemurs and tarsiers; especially :  any of the smaller longer-tailed primates as contrasted with the apes





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up monkey? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret group of plotters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

dog-eating-apple

Which is a synonym of asperse?

beat defame placate divulge
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ