monkey on one's back


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monkey on (one's) back

1. slang A drug addiction. Did you hear? Pete checked himself into rehab to deal with the monkey on his back. I've been clean and sober for nearly five years, but I can still feel the monkey on my back breathing down my neck.
2. A persistent burden or problem. This project is such a monkey on my back right now—I can't wait for it to be over. Trust me, don't get in debt. You don't want that monkey on your back.
See also: back, monkey, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

monkey on one's back

1. An addiction to a drug.
2. An object of persistent worry or obsession.
See also: back, monkey, on
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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