Terms we will never be able to use anymore after this story. "I'll be a monkey's uncle!"- "monkey with someone or something" - "monkey business and funny business" - "Monkey see, monkey do" - "monkey suit"a tuxedo - "throw a monkey wrench in the works" - "a monkey on somebody's back " - "make a monkey (out) of somebody " - "monkey (around) with something" - “grease monkey”----Although the term does not generally carry a negative connotation, that wasn’t always the case. The phrase “grease monkey” likely has its origins in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, around the time when industry was growing in both Great Britain and the United States. During that time period, it was common and acceptable to employ child laborers to work around the industrial machines. Quite often, the children were sent to perform simple repairs and maintenance on the equipment because they were small enough to reach areas not accessible to an adult. The job often involved lubricating the gears, and was often a greasy, messy process.
The children who performed the jobs of lubricating and maintaining the machinery where recognizable by the grease and oil that smeared their faces and clothing. In order to reach certain areas of the machines, a child would often have to leap and climb. As a result, the child was often compared to a monkey. That comparison, coupled with the fact that a child’s clothing and face were often grease-stained, gave rise to the phrase, “grease monkey.”
Being a child laborer working on the machines in those early centuries was not an enviable position. When the term first originated, therefore, it was considered something of a demeaning slur to call someone a grease monkey. Over time, the negative connotations have faded and the term is generally considered harmless slang. Nothing racial here - not at all..... Yes there are those who try to make this association between monkeys and African American's, but these people are the true minority, And it is mostly directed at adults( see republican cartoons and photoshopped photos of Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, as well as others.
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