monkey tricks


practical jokes

TRANSLATION

monkey trick = Dummejungenstreich, Narrenstreich, Schabernack, Scherz

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“The custom of setting aside one day a year for playing MONKEY TRICKS upon one’s neighbour is common in many western countries.”

Hamlet’s UPI

Did you
know?

monkey trick
noun phrase, informal

- mischievous behaviour or acts, such as practical jokes

Collins Dictionary

- a trick that is intended to be funny but not to cause harm or damage

The Cambridge Dictionary


ORIGIN

Coined in 1832, ‘monkey tricks’ originally meant “disreputable behavior” but gradually the meaning softened and the phrase became associated with (mostly) harmless jokes.

On April 1st, 1946, New York’s Bronx Zoo had to shut down its phone lines because of monkey business. Mischievous children would leave anonymous notes for unsuspecting adults, “Please call back Mr. C. Lyon!” – the callback number being of course, that of the zoo. Other colourful characters were Mr G. Raff, Mr L.E. Phant, Al Paca, and Sally Mander.

In a news report the same year, The New York Times called April 1st, “the silliest and most troublesome day of the whole year”.


THE FUTURE OF APRIL FOOLS

Although the internet and global news services deliver to ever wider audiences, the prevalence of "fake news" and social-media humour may be making many of us immune to April Fool jokes.


SYNONYMS

antic, April Fool's joke, caper, gag, jape, jest, joke, hoax, horseplay, lark, leg-pull, mischievous trick, MONKEY TRICK, practical joke, prank, put-on, ruse, shenanigans, skylarking, spoof, stunt, tomfoolery, trick, wind-up


PRACTICE OWAD in an English conversation, say something like:

“Be careful with MONKEY TRICKS, not everyone has the same sense of humour.”


HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

https://donorbox.org/please-become-a-friend-of-owad-3

Paul Smith

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