monkey

noun
mon·​key | \ ˈməŋ-kē How to pronounce monkey (audio) \
plural monkeys

Definition of monkey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
2a : 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

monkey

verb
monkeyed; monkeying

Definition of monkey (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to act in a grotesque or mischievous manner
2a : fool, trifle often used with aroundhe likes to monkey around with engines
b : tamper usually used with withdon't monkey with the settings

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Synonyms for monkey

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of monkey in a Sentence

Noun He's quite a cheeky little monkey, isn't he? I've got this monkey on my back, and going to detox is the only way to get it off.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cerise said the executive didn’t intend to single out the Black employees with the sock monkey gifts. Dallas News, "Parkland investigating sock monkey gift after questions from employees, John Wiley Price," 15 Dec. 2020 Last year, a match between England’s win against Bulgaria was marred by a group of Bulgaria supporters who engaged in monkey chants against defender Tyrone Mings and did Nazi salutes. NBC News, "Soccer players walk out of match in Paris after referee accused of making racist remark," 8 Dec. 2020 With a win, the Browns not only get that Pittsburgh monkey off their back, but also establish themselves as contenders in the AFC North for the first time in a long time. cleveland, "When it comes to winning in Pittsburgh, Browns have monkey on their back: Crowquill," 18 Oct. 2020 Some featuring a design with a sock monkey were given to Black employees. Dallas News, "Parkland investigating sock monkey gift after questions from employees, John Wiley Price," 15 Dec. 2020 Besides, how many books can claim to feature portions of narrative from the perspective of an A.I.-equipped monkey possessed by a superpowerful consciousness from outer space? Rachel King, Fortune, "The best books of 2020, according to Fortune staff," 6 Dec. 2020 The Popa langur is a type of monkey with a long tail, rings around its eyes, and a crest of fur on top of its head. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Scientists discover new endangered primate species, with only 260 left," 10 Nov. 2020 The study reveals telltale blood markers that predict whether a monkey’s immune system is prepared to wipe out incoming coronaviruses. Chronicle Staff, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: Dec. 4-9," 10 Dec. 2020 Bateman relates a somewhat disturbing anecdote: that during his previous episode’s goodnights, he was almost mauled by a monkey used earlier in a sketch. Andy Hoglund, EW.com, "Saturday Night Live recap: Jason Bateman hosts cast-driven episode with musical guest Morgan Wallen," 6 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But this experiment isn't about monkeying around—this a real security and safety hazard, the researchers point out in a new paper. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Turns Out It's Really Easy to Trick Tesla's Autopilot With a Cheap Projector," 31 Jan. 2020 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019 Wayne Newton‘s pet likely won’t be monkeying around any longer. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Wayne Newton's Pet Monkey Allegedly Attacked a 15-Year-Old Girl," 9 Aug. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, "First look at iPhone 11: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 15 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of monkey

Noun

circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

circa 1658, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for monkey

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for monkey

Time Traveler

The first known use of monkey was circa 1530

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Statistics for monkey

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Monkey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monkey. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for monkey

monkey

noun
How to pronounce monkey (audio)

English Language Learners 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
chiefly British : a person (especially a child) who causes trouble in a playful way

monkey

noun
mon·​key | \ ˈməŋ-kē How to pronounce monkey (audio) \
plural monkeys

Kids Definition of monkey

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

monkey

verb
monkeyed; monkeying

Kids Definition of monkey (Entry 2 of 2)

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

monkey

noun
mon·​key | \ ˈməŋ-kē How to pronounce monkey (audio) \

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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Comments on monkey

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