a monkey on back
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia.
a monkey on your back
a serious problem that you cannot forget When you know you have to do everything perfectly, it puts a giant monkey on your back.
Usage notes: also used in the form get the monkey off your back (to end a problem): By winning the championship, this team has finally got the monkey off its back.
Etymology: based on an earlier meaning of a monkey on your back (a habit of using an illegal drug)
a monkey on somebody's back(American & Australian)
a serious problem that will not go away The divorce proceedings are a monkey on her back.