1

monkey

noun mon·key \ ˈməŋ-kē \
Updated on: 1 Dec 2017

Definition of monkey

plural monkeys
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 a : a person resembling a monkey
b : a ludicrous figure : dupe
3 : any of various machines, implements, or vessels; especially : the falling weight of a pile driver
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.

Recent Examples of monkey from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'monkey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

Other Mammals Terms


2

monkey

verb

Definition of monkey

monkeyed; monkeying
transitive verb
: mimic, mock
intransitive verb
1 : to act in a grotesque or mischievous manner
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

Recent Examples of monkey from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'monkey.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of monkey

circa 1658


MONKEY Defined for English Language Learners

monkey

noun

Definition of monkey for English Language Learners

  • : 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


MONKEY Defined for Kids

1

monkey

noun mon·key \ ˈməŋ-kē \

Definition of monkey for Students

plural monkeys
: 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

verb

Definition of monkey for Students

monkeyed; monkeying
1 : to spend time in an idle or aimless way
  • We just monkeyed around in the gym.
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

noun mon·key \ ˈməŋ-kē \

medical Definition of monkey

: 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


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