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February 13, 2014 - Word of the Day: monkey

 

monkey

A monkey is a small animal that looks a little like a miniature human being. It's covered with fur and it has a tail. There are hundreds of different kinds of monkeys. They live in warm, tropical areas. In colder areas of the world, monkeys are found only at zoos or in circuses. Some people try to keep monkeys as pets, but they are very destructive and difficult to domesticate.

Aside from using the word "monkey" to describe the animal, there are a few other ways in which this word is used.

When "monkey" is used as a verb, it means to experiment with or play with something:

  • Charles likes to monkey around with different kinds of engines. He's a mechanic.
  • Yolanda told her kids not to monkey around with the microwave.
  • Please, don't monkey with that.

This word is also found in several expressions:

  • Are you trying to make a monkey out of me? (Are you trying to make me look foolish or stupid?)
  • Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle. (I'm surprised by this situation.)
  • A new supervisor put a stop to all the monkey business that was going on in our department. (People weren't doing their jobs seriously.)
  • Now everyone carries around smart phones. Monkey see, monkey do. (People imitate each other, even with the behavior is foolish or unnecessary.)
  • They had as much fun at the party as a barrel of monkeys. (They had a good time; however, "a barrel of monkeys" can also be used sarcastically, meaning that an activity was not fun.)

 

monkeywrenchThis is a monkey wrench.

A monkey wrench is a large wrench used to fix plumbing.

 

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