Date: Wed, 4 Sep 1996 20:39:35 -0500


Subject: Monkey business for Lynne -Reply

Margaret Ronkin ronkinm[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] 0904.1743


I'd venture to guess that in this context monkey = liquor bottle,

although there are other possibilities.

Beale's (1984:748) _Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional

English..._ gives:

(1) as a second sense of "monkey" (c. 1867): "a 'vessel' i.e. a container

in which a mess receives its full amount of grog" (as in "suck the

monkey" below);


(1) appears to be of nautical origin. According to Farmer's and

Henley's (1965:335) _Slang and Its Analogues_, "to suck the monkey"

means: (a) "to drink rum out of cocoa-nuts, emptied of milk and filled with

spirits"; (b) "to [drink] liquor from a cask through a gimlet hole with a

straw", and (c) "to drink from the [whisky] bottle".

I've a strong hunch that (a) is the original sense of "suck the monkey".

The best way to pierce a coconut's inner shell (the hard fibrous one,

which is what we who harvest them in supermarkets normally see) is

through one of the three dark, roughly circular spots clustered at one

end, which are said (and I agree) to resemble a monkey's face (O-mouth

and two big eyes). Memory says my source is _The Joy of Cooking_.

Jeez, I hope I can finish this message and get it out this time. Last time I

tried, I interrupted myself to adjust the sound volume... and the $%^&*

Windows 95 (which I do not love) got stuck in a loop telling me some

pathname was bad, and I had to kill the mail task.

Mark A. Mandel : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]

Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200

320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA :