Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Monkey = the Devil;

 Monkey (A).Monkey, 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
 
Monkey = the Devil;
 
an imp of mischief. Hence, a meddlesome child is spoken to as “you little monkey;” and is called “a regular imp,” or “imp of mischief.” The allusion is to the old drawings of devils, with long tails and monkey ugliness.   1
   To get (or have) one’s monkey up. To be riled. Here the allusion is also to the devil or evil spirit in man; he will be “in a devil of a temper.” Even taken literally, monkeys are extremely irritable and easily provoked.   2
 


 Monkey (A).Monkey, 

 
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