Monkey business

Expressions in a language other than your native language can still be a tricky business. We help you on your way. This time: expressions with the word ‘singe’ (monkey).

Être malin comme un singe.
In Dutch monkeys are not smart, but in French you are super smart if you are compared to a monkey.

Payer and monnaie de singe.
Pay with monkey money? In French, this expression means that you pay with something worthless. For example, you use the expression when you have been conned: ‘Je me suis fait payer en monnaie de singe’.

Être comme un singe and hiver.
Monkeys in winter are very cold according to the French and are pathetic. And so you use this saying when you are very cold and sad.

On n’apprend pas à un vieux singe à faire la grimace.
Literally: you don’t teach an old monkey how to make faces. We say: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.