Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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MONKEY, n. Sc. usages:

1. Combs. and phr.: (1) monkey-chip, -chippie (Ayr.8 1963), a game of marbles (see quot.). Hence monkey-chipper, a marble used in the game; (2) monkey-faces, mimulus (Bnff., Abd. 1963); (3) monkey-hanger, a nickname current in Greenock for a Port Glasgow man (see quot.). Cf. (7); (4) monkey-mensed, silly, giddy, thoughtless. See Mense; (5) monkeys' moos, the yellow toad-flax, Linaria vulgaris (Abd.27 1948). Cf. (2); (6) monkey-waggon, see quot.; (7) to hang the monkey, to put in time on a job of work without really working at it (Rxb. 1963). Cf. (3). (1) Mry.  1 1925:
Monkey Chip — A game at marbles: throw a marble against a wall so that it will rebound to a hole.
Abd. 1958  Press and Jnl. (22 Sept.):
Bools . . . with rosies, and peebles and picks and monkey-chippers and glessers.
(3) Rnf. 1929  F. C. Bowen Sea Slang 91:
Monkey-Hangers. Port Glasgow men, applied by their Greenock rivals. The story is that a party from Port Glasgow set out for Dumbarton to witness a hanging, but got drunk and missed the boat. So they seized an organ-grinder's monkey and consoled themselves with hanging that.
(4) Abd. 1827  J. Imlah May Flowers 9:
Lat glaiket Fasbion gang to France, Wi' monkey-mensed Munseer to prance.
(6) wm.Sc. 1948–63 1 :
A type of vehicle, with four wheels, for carrying long (but not tremendously long) loads is regularly known to carting contractors in this district as a monkey-waggon. In this the front axle has the usual swivelling arrangement and a pole fixed behind it. This pole passes through the back axle, which is flxed to it by a pin passing through both at the point in the pole appropriate to the length of the load being carried. The monkey-waggon thus has an adjustable wheel-base.
(7) Fif. 1954  :
I was just hangin the monkey aa efternain.

2. A tool with a ratchet for tensing fencing wire (Arg.1 1937; m. and s.Sc. 1963).

3. A boy's toy (see quot.). Cf. Naut.Eng. monkey, a sailor's purse worn round the neck. Abd. 1910 13 :
Monkey: a boy's plaything made of an old cotton reel and a small bag with string attached. With this he collects slatepencil. He goes round the others saying: “Feed my monkey.” They put a little bit of slatepencil into the hole of the reel, the boy pulls the string and down it goes into the bag.

4. A bundle of material removed surreptitiously from one's work (wm.Sc. 1962). Cf. 3. Cld. 1957  Manchester Guardian (20 March):
Removal of timber or other material was strictly forbidden, yet almost everyone quite openly took home each night the bundle of firewood known to Clydesiders for some obscure reason as a “monkey”.

5. A round narrow-mouthed basket used by fishermen for holding bait; “a basket carried on the arm” (Fif. 1926 Wilson Cent. Scot. 256). Fif. 1868  St. Andrews Gazette (11 July):
I had a basket, which is called a “monkey”, with me. It was an ordinary sized mussel basket.

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"Monkey n.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 19 Jan 2018 <>



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