You all know what a monkey is right? If not, I’ll tell you…

A monkey is a primate that lives in the trees. They are closely related to humans and like warm climates.


The word ‘monkey’ is a slang term for a mischievous person.

e.g. My grandson is a little monkey! He opened all my drawers and has thrown my knickers all over the floor.

monkey idioms and expressions

Here’s a list of idioms about monkeys.

  • brass monkeys
    meaning – very cold weather
    example – Take your coat, it’s always brass monkeys by the coast.
  • don’t give a monkey’s
    meaning – you don’t care
    example – I don’t give a monkey’s if the whole school are going to the party. You’re grounded!
  • go ape shit
    meaning – become angry and violent
    example – My mum is going to go ape shit when she finds out I spilt wine on the sofa.
  • if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys
    meaning – if you pay low wages, the workers will be bad
    example – My boss is always shouting about product standards. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.
  • make a monkey out of someone
    meaning – someone does something to make another person look stupid
    example – The non-league team made a monkey out of the premiership side by beating them 3-0.
  • monkey business
    meaning – mischievous behaviour
    example – I’m away on business next week. Make sure there is no monkey business whilst I’m gone.
  • monkey see, monkey do
    meaning – stupid people copy the actions of other stupid people
    example – People play violent games then act them out in real life. Monkey see monkey do.

monkey idioms and expressions with pictures

Click on the pictures below to learn some common idioms and expressions with monkeys. Each idiom includes the meaning and a real-life picture example.​

animal idioms - monkey expressions and phrases
monkey phrases - brass monkeys
monkey sayings - don't give a monkey's
monkey expressions - go ape shit
monkey idioms - make a monkey out of someone
monkey expressions - monkey business
monkey idioms - monkey see, monkey do

You can download a table of monkey idioms below.

If you’ve enjoyed this page, don’t forget to check out some more animal idioms by clicking on the links below.