monkey on one's back


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monkey on one's back

1. Drug addiction, as in He'd had a monkey on his back for at least two years. [Slang; first half of 1900s]
2. A vexing problem or burden, as in This project has proved to be a monkey on my back-there seems to be no end to it. Both usages allude to being unable to shake off the animal from one's back.
See also: back, monkey, on

monkey on one's back

1. An addiction to a drug.
2. An object of persistent worry or obsession.
See also: back, monkey, on