On Fox News I saw a segment where gubernatorial candidate for Florida was talking about mayor of Tallahassee, Andrew Gillum, running for governor. In it he says:
"Let's build off the success we've had on Governor Scott. The last
thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a
My interest is in the term "monkey up". I understood the meaning he meant to convey probably from the association that monkeys are said to have with mischief.
2. One who behaves in a way suggestive of a monkey, as a mischievous child or a mimic.
American Heritage Dictionary
This mischief association is found in other dictionaries too.
I tried to look up variations of "monkey up something" or "monkey something up", or "monkey it up" and all I found were results of this particular statement made by this politician. Generally the results are on this particular event and that it was used intentionally for racial motives.
I've looked up "monkey" as a verb itself and found meanings along these lines:
- (intr; usually foll by around, with, etc) to meddle, fool, or tinker
Collins English Dictionary
But this seems somewhat different from the meaning of to "ruin", "mess up", "bungle", "regress" etc, although I admit they may be related. The problem is that in my search I have not seen an instance of this phrase, "to monkey up" to mean this outside of this particular instance.
Also possibly related, "throw a (monkey) wrench in(to) the works", which does indeed mean to "set back" or "halt progress" or break something, or along those lines.
I want to purely keep this on an English usage level and not go anywhere near politics or race. Is there an instance or two of "monkey up" someone can provide with this meaning that I may have missed? I'd be grateful. Maybe my searching skills are bad, but all the results returned were about this particular incident.