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 New Mexico Albuquerque: Animal advocacy groups have filed complaints with federal officials about the treatment of monkeys and other animals at a research facility in New Mexico. USA TODAY, "Bounty of bags, parrot false alarm, virtual hike: News from around our 50 states," 6 Jan. 2020 Screens are the only divider separating you from the forest; you’ll be waked by howler monkeys rather than by an alarm clock, and entertained by the parrots, monkeys and toucans that like to hang out in the trees by the pool. Danielle Braff, Houston Chronicle, "10 of the world's most beautiful places to unplug," 27 Dec. 2019 The kangaroo was a particular hit, but other animal builds in the kit include a leopard, mouse, boar, monkey—and a mantis shrimp, complete with leg-like swimmerets. Michelle Z. Donahue, Smithsonian, "The Ten Best STEM Toys to Give as Gifts in 2019," 26 Nov. 2019 More will likely follow as climate change and deforestation push monkeys and mosquitoes into greater contact with the region’s teeming cities. Steven M. Opal, Time, "When Mosquitoes Brought Yellow Fever to the Caribbean, They Also Spread Slavery," 11 Oct. 2019 Fantastical pink monkeys and blue elephants hang above the photos they were used in. Vogue, "Inside the Opening Night of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s New Exhibition "Tim Walker: Wonderful Things"," 19 Sep. 2019 Perhaps the most enthralling of the additions was the bionic menagerie of monkeys and giraffes that roamed the park daily. Megan Venzin, Billboard, "The Nine Best Moments of Electric Zoo 2019 Featuring Kaskade, Alison Wonderland, Dog Blood & More," 3 Sep. 2019 Enjoy carnival games, spirit card readings, Madame Zelda’s house of mirrors, mutant monkeys and more. Lisa Herendeen, The Mercury News, "10 awesome Burning Man things to do on Day 2, Aug. 26," 5 Aug. 2019 These are kind of like garlic knots meet monkey bread. Katie Workman, NBC News, "Transform ho-hum refrigerated biscuits into this garlicky oregano monkey bread," 23 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 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

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Monkey.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monkey. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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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