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 Pushaina used a fish bone to scrape a fruit peel known as a taza de mono — a monkey’s cup — to extract a juice used in traditional medicine to treat stomachaches and child malnutrition. Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2021 One monkey died from dehydration after not being given water for several days because a water line was not properly affixed to its cage. Rob O'dell, USA TODAY, 9 Oct. 2021 Jannique Martinez said her as-yet-to-be identified neighbor has retaliated to her presence by playing racial slurs and monkey noises loudly and at different points of the day. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, 5 Oct. 2021 Like Zubia, Melendez earned that moment of monkey-off-the-back bliss. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, 25 June 2021 The cast hated working with Ross' monkey, Marcel — especially David Schwimmer. Dory Jackson, PEOPLE.com, 27 May 2021 That means a monkey who makes stock picks throwing darts at a board should be able to do just as well as esteemed portfolio managers. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 The limestone outcrop that looks like a giant sock monkey and took shape by thousands of years worth of water flowing through the Sabinal Canyon’s walls. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 21 Sep. 2021 The card, depicting a bespectacled monkey sitting on a hoard of treasure, was $30 earlier this summer. Ken Sweet, USA TODAY, 3 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb With supply running low toward the end of most evenings, savvy bun fanatics don’t monkey around, routinely calling ahead to request an extra skillet of rolls set aside just for them. Ettan. Valerie Demicheva And Flora Chang, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 July 2021 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, 31 Jan. 2020 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, 15 Sep. 2019 To make matters more confusing, Apple monkeyed around with the names of the new stuff. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Denver Post, 15 Sep. 2019 Wayne Newton‘s pet likely won’t be monkeying around any longer. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, 9 Aug. 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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Dictionary Entries Near monkey

monkery

monkey

monkey about

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Statistics for monkey

Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Monkey.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monkey. Accessed 24 Oct. 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
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on monkey

Nglish: Translation of monkey for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of monkey for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about monkey

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