monkey business


noun

frivolous or mischievous behavior.
improper or underhanded conduct; trickery.

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Origin of monkey business

An Americanism dating back to 1880–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for monkey business

  • Monkey-business on company time is only for Big Shots like him; not for small fry such as you.

    The Galaxy Primes|Edward Elmer Smith
  • I'm going to talk to you man to man, Leon, and no monkey-business about it nor nothing.

British Dictionary definitions for monkey business

monkey business

noun

informal mischievous, suspect, dishonest, or meddlesome behaviour or acts
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with monkey business

monkey business

Silly, mischievous, or deceitful conduct, as in The teacher told the children to cut out the monkey business and get to work, or I don't trust that lawyer—there's some monkey business going on. This expression transfers the tricks of monkeys to human behavior. [Late 1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.