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Not my monkey

January 13, 2019

Here is a nice expression, courtesy of the character Peter Barlow in Coronation Street: “Not my monkey, not my circus” – meaning, This is not my problem and I don’t have to deal with it. It’s like “Not my pigeon”, I suppose, but more picturesque; and I like the way it moves from the particular to the general. The expression somehow works even though monkeys are not well-known for appearing in circuses. I wonder if it is a real expression, or did a clever scriptwriter make it up?

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  1. Simon Carter permalink

    According to google it’s from a Polish proverb. Not an expression I’ve come across but it does seem well known.

  2. Craig permalink

    Hi Brandon, it’s an existing expression as “Not my monkey” is used alot at my place of work. I have never heard that full expression though. I always just assumed it was a was an evolution of “Go and tell the organ grinder”, meaning don’t bother me with this (the monkey), go and tell the one in charge (The organ grinder). Or maybe could it even have been the organ grinders response “that’s not my monkey mate”?

  3. Mark Brafield permalink

    Slight variation on the ‘monkey and organ-grinder’ theme, if an old boss of mine was getting fobbed off by some middle manager who clearly didn’t know what was actually going on, he used to say ‘I want to speak to the man with the oily rag’.

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