noun, plural mon·keys.
verb (used without object), mon·keyed, mon·key·ing.
verb (used with object), mon·keyed, mon·key·ing.
- an addiction to a drug or drugs; narcotic dependency.
- an enduring and often vexing habit or urge.
- a burdensome problem, situation, or responsibility; personal affliction or hindrance.
Origin of monkey
Related formsmon·key·ish, adjectivemon·key·ish·ly, adverbmon·key·ish·ness, noun
British Dictionary definitions for monkey on one's back
- to be troubled by a persistent problem
- US and Canadian to be addicted to a drug
Word Origin for monkey
Idioms and Phrases with monkey on one's back (1 of 2)
monkey on one's back
Drug addiction, as in He'd had a monkey on his back for at least two years. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
A vexing problem or burden, as in This project has proved to be a monkey on my back—there seems to be no end to it. Both usages allude to being unable to shake off the animal from one's back.
Idioms and Phrases with monkey on one's back (2 of 2)
In addition to the idioms beginning with monkey
- monkey business
- monkey on one's back
- fool (monkey) around
- make a fool (monkey) of
- more fun than a barrel of monkeys
- throw a monkey wrench