Shoot a Monkey – Meaning, Origin & Example Sentences

The expression “shoot a monkey” is one that will naturally cause confusion in the minds of anyone who is not already familiar with it and what it’s used for. To avoid this confusion, this article will explain what the phrase means, and how you could use it.

Shoot a Monkey – Meaning

The phrase “shoot a monkey” is used as an expletive phrase, to be utilized in moments of frustration and stress. Many people like to avoid using curse words, so instead of those they will say things like “shoot” and “dang it”. “Shoot a monkey” comes from this behavior.

shoot a monkey meaning

Therefore, there is no inherent scientific meaning to using the phrase “shoot a monkey” beyond the fact that it’s the sort of phrase you’d scream when something frustrating is happening

How to Use “Shoot a Monkey” in a Sentence

Because of the type of phrase it is, incorporating “shoot a monkey” into your sentences is actually quite easy and simple. To prove this fact, we’ve assembled a list of example sentences to help you understand how to use “shoot a monkey” without any complications or misunderstandings:

  1. Shoot a monkey, I can’t believe this attempt is going so poorly!
  2. I cannot get the video editing software to render the film correctly, shoot a monkey!
  3. Shoot a monkey, this darn fly keeps avoiding all of my attempts to swat it out of the room!
  4. Shoot a monkey, I keep dropping all of these boxes that we have got to get rid of!
  5. Every time I get close to finishing the paper, my computer crashes, shoot a monkey!
  6. Shoot a monkey, I can’t believe how hard it is to get all of these people in at the same time!
  7. Shoot a monkey, it’s unbelievable that she’s not answering my calls after all this time!
  8. Shoot a monkey, can you believe that support is only getting back to my emails now?
  9. Shoot a monkey, they just delayed my flight by two hours so I’m stranded here for now!
  10. Shoot a monkey, this is easily the worst exam attempt I’ve ever seen in my whole life!

Shoot a Monkey – Origin

The phrase “shoot a monkey” doesn’t exactly come from something, and we don’t know who said it first. “Shoot a monkey” is a longer way of using “shoot” as an expletive phrase, and the “monkey” part is added randomly, as it could be anything instead of the monkey in question.

Shoot a Monkey – Synonyms

The phrase “shoot a monkey” is simply an example of phrases that are used in moments of high frustration and tension, when things are going poorly. Naturally, there are tons of different phrases that also fulfill this purpose in English, and here are some of them:

  • Frick!
  • Shoot!
  • Dagnabbit!
  • Biscuits!
  • Darn it!

Correct Ways to Say “Shoot a Monkey”

Because it’s the sort of phrase that gets repeated a lot, you’re bound to get a lot of variation on how people actually use “shoot a monkey”. To help you understand the amount of variation that happens, here are some more correct ways to say “shoot a monkey”:

  • Shoot my monkey!
  • Shoot these monkeys!
  • Shoot the monkey!
  • Shoot his monkey!
  • Shoot her monkey!

Incorrect Ways to Use “Shoot a Monkey”

The phrase “shoot a monkey” is basically just used as a replacement for an expletive, and should therefore not be taken as a literal statement indicating that a monkey is going to get shot. If someone uses it in this way, they’re wrong.

Another incorrect way to use “shoot a monkey” is to think that the phrase is positive in nature, or that it indicates good things. Actually, “shoot a monkey” is used in moments of frustration.

In What Situations Can You Use “Shoot a Monkey”?

“Shoot a monkey” is the perfect phrase to use in moments of high frustration and stress, when things seem to be going poorly. You can use this phrase to replace curse words and expletives, and it’ll perfectly fit the situation, even if it seems like an odd replacement.

“Shoot a monkey” is a good phrase to use when something is not working, or when someone is arriving late, or when things generally are not going the way that you wish they were going.