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

addiction, dependence (also dependance), habit, jones [slang]

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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

However, if that monkey can pick winning stocks again and again and again, flawlessly . . Kirk J. Rudell, The New Yorker, "I Have Perfect Pitch," 13 Sep. 2019 Should Newsom sign Senate Bill 313, circuses in the state will no longer be allowed to use bears, tigers, elephants, monkeys or other wild animals in their acts. Los Angeles Times, "Lions, tigers and bears no more: California lawmakers ban exotic animals at circuses," 11 Sep. 2019 Discover ecological treasures ranging from the Amazon’s macaws and monkeys to the endemic marine iguanas and giant tortoises of the Galápagos. National Geographic, "Ecuador and the Galápagos Expedition: Biodiversity Hotspot," 10 Sep. 2019 Scientists have largely contented themselves with indirect clues from studies of animals, like mice and monkeys. New York Times, "Organoids Are Not Brains. How Are They Making Brain Waves?," 29 Aug. 2019 Marco Tamietto was aware that animal rights activists might target him after his team won ethical approval for an experiment in monkeys on blindness. Alison Abbott, Science | AAAS, "Italian blindness researchers planning monkey studies threatened after health ministry releases names," 21 Aug. 2019 Like the 2015 Sweetwater Valley team, this year’s edition hangs a rally monkey from the dugout fence. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Sweetwater again seeking Little League World Series berth," 3 Aug. 2019 Why this all-knowing monkey trusted a bunch of bugs to create this sacred drawing is a mystery that will never be solved. Sydney Bucksbaum, EW.com, "All the differences between the original Lion King and the remake," 23 July 2019 The alarm call vervet monkeys use to warn of martial eagles is nearly identical to the call green monkeys use to warn of drones. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 22 July 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. Washington Post, "iPhone 11 first look: That’s an awful lot of cash for a camera," 10 Sep. 2019 Back in 2017, Knibbs recounted accusations of monkeying with the star system, of rigged contests (and changed prizes), and of moderators scrubbing any unflattering comments about Renner. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "Jeremy Renner’s Strange Summer," 6 Sep. 2019 Prince Harry is committed to conservation efforts around the world, focusing much of his work in Africa Prince Harry is just monkeying around! The royal headed to Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Global Leadership Meeting on Tuesday. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Harry Reenacts a 'Chimp Greeting' with Dr. Jane Goodall — See the Hilarious Moment!," 23 July 2019 Bang, who monkeyed around with Elisabeth Moss in The Square and faced Claire Foy in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, strokes his fangs as the titular vampire, with blood splatter coating his black-and-white ensemble. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Dracula arrives in first blood-splattered look at Sherlock creators' miniseries," 5 July 2019 Vieux Carre home owners and hoteliers have traditionally applied grease to the poles to prevent such monkeying around. Doug Maccash, NOLA.com, "Greasing of the Poles: The slippery Mardi Gras ceremony is Feb. 9," 25 Jan. 2018 But there’s no stopping the construction now, so signing Kaepernick would not monkey-wrench the stadium. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Colin Kaepernick a phone call away from being Raiders’ backup QB," 20 Jan. 2018 Prince Harry is committed to conservation efforts around the world, focusing much of his work in Africa Prince Harry is just monkeying around! The royal headed to Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Global Leadership Meeting on Tuesday. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Prince Harry Reenacts a 'Chimp Greeting' with Dr. Jane Goodall — See the Hilarious Moment!," 23 July 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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Statistics for monkey

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for monkey

The first known use of monkey was circa 1530

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on monkey

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with monkey

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for monkey

Spanish Central: Translation of monkey

Nglish: Translation of monkey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of monkey for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about monkey

Comments on monkey

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