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Learn English: 7 monkey idioms used in English

A cheeky-looking monkey
A cheeky-looking monkey.

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Take a look at these English expressions involving monkeys. We assure you, it's no monkey business!

To monkey around

‘To monkey around’ means to behave in a silly or careless way.

"No more monkeying around! Let’s get serious about the project."

"They have been monkeying around so they did not get anything done."

To make a monkey out of someone

‘To make a monkey out of someone’ means to make someone look silly.

"He thought he could make a monkey out of his friend but he was not prepared for what was coming."

"Why do you want to make a monkey out of me? I am just trying to help!"

Monkey business

‘Monkey business’ means doing something mischievous.

"The company fired its accountant because there was some monkey business going on with the accounts."

"The children will get up to monkey business if we do not keep our eye on them."

Monkey
A monkey.

Monkey see, monkey do

'Monkey see, monkey do' refers to copying someone’s actions without putting much thought into it.

"He started an exercise routine and his wife copied it. It was a monkey see, monkey do sort of situation."

"Where’s the originality? We live in a monkey see, monkey do world."

Cheeky monkey

'Cheeky monkey' is an expression we use when someone is being mischievous and playful.

"My friend was trying to get free copies of her favourite newspaper by queuing up in different locations. She is such a cheeky monkey."

"You know John is not telling the truth about the price of his car. It cannot cost a million dollars. He is just being a cheeky monkey."

A group of monkeys huddled together
A group of monkeys huddled together.

More fun than a barrel of monkeys

'More fun than a barrel of monkeys' means to have a lot of fun.

"You should watch the men’s team play cricket. They have more fun than a barrel of monkeys."

"We went to watch the romantic comedy last night and it was more fun than a barrel of monkeys."

Monkey's uncle

'Monkey's uncle' is used as an expression of surprise.

"I never thought my friend would get married again but I just received her wedding invitation. I'll be a monkey's uncle."

"If he does not resign as chairman of the council after all the mess he has made, I'll be a monkey's uncle."

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