is there an idiom sounding like "monkey dies" or "monkeys died"? What does it mean?

I've been wondering since I heard Robert Plant song "Monkey": Tonight you will be mine | Tonight the monkey'll die.

and I also came across it in Friends when zoo manager said to Ross that "They say, sometimes monkeys die" — and the phrase apparently was not used in its literal meaning.

Thanks for help!

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    Idioms with monkey: fle135-idioms.pbworks.com/w/page/5905557/Idioms-with-Monkey
    – user66974
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 11:08
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    It might refer to a serious problem as in : A monkey on someone's back (American & Australian): a serious problem that will not go away. The divorce proceedings are a monkey on her back.
    – user66974
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 11:10
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    From what I remember of the Friends episode, the zoo told Ross that his monkey had died whereas in reality they had sold it to some company (an advertising firm??), ie they lied to hide the fact that they had made money from the sale. The zookeeper was trying to alert Ross to this unscrupulous practice by, in effect, speaking in inverted commas - They say sometimes monkeys "die".
    – Mynamite
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 11:49
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    @Josh61-(re: link) Well THAT was educational! Thanks.
    – Oldbag
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 14:19
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    Probably a reference to the idom to have a monkey on one's back - meaning to have a problem that can't be shaken off. I'm assuming he means that making the girl his will relieve his tensions (aka his monkey).
    – Alan Gee
    Commented Jan 18, 2015 at 16:16

1 Answer 1


I can't speak on the reference to Friends, but the "Robert Plant" song was originally written by Alan Spearhawk and Mimi Parker, and performed by their group "Low". This link includes what Spearhawk had to say about the lyric. Not terribly enlightening, but possibly as close as you'll get to an interpretation.


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