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 around he likes to monkey around with engines
b : tamper usually used with with don'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 An April 12 Facebook post features a cartoon drawing of several animals, including an elephant, a monkey and a penguin, standing before a teacher. Nayeli Lomeli, USA TODAY, "Fact check: No, Albert Einstein did not say famous quote about fish climbing trees," 27 Apr. 2021 Invert the monkey bread onto the rack, then flip the bread carefully over again and transfer to a serving plate. Katie Workman, Washington Post, "Combine store-bought biscuit dough with pesto for this savory monkey bread," 29 Mar. 2021 The team observed the human and monkey cells divide and grow together in a dish, with three of the embryos surviving 19 days after the initial fertilization. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Scientists successfully create human-monkey hybrid, raising ethical questions," 19 Apr. 2021 Still, the human and monkey cells didn’t quite mesh, notes UM stem cell biologist Andrew Crane. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "Lab-grown embryos mix human and monkey cells for the first time," 15 Apr. 2021 The international team described the process of creating the monkey-human embryos, known as chimeras, in a paper published in Cell, a major breakthrough that also raises some serious ethical questions. Robert Hart, Forbes, "Scientists Have Created Embryos That Are Part Human, Part Monkey," 15 Apr. 2021 Kong fit the bill, partly because RKO didn't monkey around. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "saved a movie studio," 26 Mar. 2021 Another monkey died in January 2020 because of trauma from being intubated during a surgery. Sara Tabin, The Salt Lake Tribune, "University of Utah under fire from animal rights group over monkey deaths," 20 Mar. 2021 Menu options include smoked salmon eggs Benedict, lobster thermidor, filet and eggs, citrus salad, crab cake with Old Bay aioli and monkey bread. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Easter 2021: Hop to these 22 San Diego County restaurants for brunch or dinner," 26 Mar. 2021 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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Monkey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monkey. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for monkey

monkey

noun

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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