A monkey is a tropical, long-tailed animal known as a "primate." If you visit India or Sri Lanka, you're almost guaranteed to see monkeys, but don't monkey around with them.

Many monkeys live in trees, although some are ground-dwelling, and increasingly many live in urban areas, scavenging food and interacting with people. Monkeys are famously playful and mischievous, and because of this, monkey is a common diminutive (or fond nickname) for impish kids, and "monkey business" is foolishness or deceitful behavior. When you monkey around, or monkey with something, you fool about or fiddle with it.

Definitions of monkey

n any of various long-tailed primates (excluding the prosimians)

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Old World monkey, catarrhine
of Africa or Arabia or Asia; having nonprehensile tails and nostrils close together
New World monkey, platyrrhine, platyrrhinian
hairy-faced arboreal monkeys having widely separated nostrils and long usually prehensile tails
guenon, guenon monkey
small slender African monkey having long hind limbs and tail and long hair around the face
large agile arboreal monkey with long limbs and tail and white upper eyelids
Erythrocebus patas, hussar monkey, patas
reddish long-tailed monkey of west Africa
large terrestrial monkeys having doglike muzzles
short-tailed monkey of rocky regions of Asia and Africa
slender long-tailed monkey of Asia
colobus, colobus monkey
arboreal monkey of western and central Africa with long silky fur and reduced thumbs
Nasalis larvatus, proboscis monkey
Borneo monkey having a long bulbous nose
small soft-furred South American and Central American monkey with claws instead of nails
Cebus capucinus, capuchin, ringtail
monkey of Central America and South America having thick hair on the head that resembles a monk's cowl
Aotus trivirgatus, douroucouli
nocturnal monkey of Central America and South America with large eyes and thick fur
howler, howler monkey
monkey of tropical South American forests having a loud howling cry
small arboreal monkey of tropical South America with long hair and bushy nonprehensile tail
medium-sized tree-dwelling monkey of the Amazon basin; only New World monkey with a short tail
titi, titi monkey
small South American monkeys with long beautiful fur and long nonprehensile tail
Ateles geoffroyi, spider monkey
arboreal monkey of tropical America with long slender legs and long prehensile tail
Saimiri sciureus, squirrel monkey
small long-tailed monkey of Central American and South America with greenish fur and black muzzle
woolly monkey
large monkeys with dark skin and woolly fur of the Amazon and Orinoco basins
Type of:
any placental mammal of the order Primates; has good eyesight and flexible hands and feet

n one who is playfully mischievous

imp, rapscallion, rascal, scalawag, scallywag, scamp
brat, holy terror, little terror, terror
a very troublesome child
Type of:
child, fry, kid, minor, nestling, nipper, shaver, small fry, tiddler, tike, tyke, youngster
a young person of either sex

v do random, unplanned work or activities or spend time idly

mess around, monkey around, muck about, muck around, potter, putter, tinker
mess around, as in a liquid or paste
Type of:
exert oneself by doing mental or physical work for a purpose or out of necessity

v play around with or alter or falsify, usually secretively or dishonestly

fiddle, tamper
Type of:
hold something in one's hands and move it

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