‘to put [something] where the monkey put(s) the nuts’

With reference to the anus, the slang phrase to put [something] where the monkey put(s) the nuts and variants express contemptuous rejection.

A variant with Jacko (a favourite name for a monkey) occurs in Ulysses (Published for the Egoist Press, London, by John Rodker, Paris, 1922), by the Irish author James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941):

Ben Dollard halted and stared, his loud orifice open, a dangling button of his coat wagging brightbacked from its thread as he wiped away the heavy shraums that clogged his eyes to hear aright.
— What few days? he boomed. Hasn’t your landlord distrained for rent?
— He has. Father Cowley said.
— Then our friend’s writ is not worth the paper it’s printed on, Ben Dollard said. The landlord has the prior claim. I gave him all the particulars. 29 Windsor avenue. Love is the name?
— That’s right, Father Cowley said. The reverend Mr Love. He’s a minister in the country somewhere. But are you sure of that?
— You can tell Barabbas from me, Ben Dollard said, that he can put that writ where Jacko put the nuts.

These are the earliest occurrences that I have found of the phrase to put [something] where the monkey put(s) the nuts and variants, in chronological order:

1-: From A New and Gorgeous Pantomime Entitled Harlequin Prince Cherrytop and the Good Fairy Fairfuck, or the Frig, the Fuck and the Fairy (1879), a pornographic work attributed to the British author and journalist George Augustus Sala (1828-1895)—as quoted in the Oxford English Dictionary (3rd edition, 2002):

Put your gifts away,
Where the monkey put the shells.

2-: From the account of a case heard at Henley County Court, published in The Henley Advertiser (Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England) of Saturday 17th December 1892:

Fanny Dormer, a domestic servant, sued Mrs T. Shepherd, of the Red Lion Hotel, for £1 for wages due in lieu of notice.
The Defendant said the plaintiff had totally neglected her work; in fact, all the time she had been there, she had done absolutely nothing. On the day in question she had asked her to light the copper fire and do a little washing. She told her she was not engaged to do washing, and told her to put the clothes where the monkey put the nuts.

3-: From Glimpses of Modern Civilisation. No. II., by ‘Quinbus Flestrin’, published in The Clarion (London, England) of Saturday 14th December 1895:

Scene: Interior of the Spotted Unicorn. Dingy bar with dirty floor, sodden sawdust and sickly lights. […] A ferret-eyed young man in his shirt sleeves. […] Enter an old man with bad feet and sore eyes. Also with a whip, and clothed in a hard shiny hat.
Young Man: ’Ello, Springer, ’ows yer luck?
Springer (shuffling his way slowly towards the counter): […] Just druv a ole gent to the Exeter ’All, and he gives me my exact bloomin’ fare. “Aint yer gowin’ to give me some ha’pence,” ses I. And wot d’yer think the old gonoph gives me?
Young Man (stirring his rum contemplatively): Dunno, Springer.
Springer: A bloomin’ track. Here y’are, “The Fruits of Righteousness.” And told me to beware of the Scarlet ’Oman. […] I tell him to put his bloomin’ track where the monkey put the nuts. I giv’ him Scarlet ’Oman. I did. Straight!

4-: From Kate Meredith, Financier (New York and London: The Authors and Newspapers Association, 1906), by the English novelist Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne (1866-1944):

“You can let both Chips and the bo’s’n understand that unless I see a good round sum in hard cash as my share of profits when we get back to Liverpool, they don’t ride in the old M’poso next trip. They can put their book debts where the monkey put the nuts. They don’t pay me out with those. No, by Crumbs!”

5-: From The Game Birds of India, Burma and Ceylon. Introduction and Part I. The Woodcock, by E. C. Stuart Baker, published on Monday 13th June 1910 in The Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society (Bombay: Printed at The Times Press):

Perhaps the most successful of the many sportsman Shillong has harboured is Major Wilson of the 8th Gurkhas and to him my thanks are due for much information and a most interesting account of his first cock in 1908. He writes “[…] On that day, I happened to have for my morning parade “Exercise in hill climbing,” so took my men up the side of the big hill overhanging Shillong, which is pretty well covered with pine forest.
[…] From some little distance up the hill I hear the wings of a bird clicking against the branches of the trees as he flies, a sound I have noticed with both woodcock and pheasant at home. A second later, he gives me the type of shot I love best, coming towards me high overhead. I throw up the gun, fire, and as I lower it, see the cock crashing down through the branches. The orderly picks him up, and not having seen me shoot one for at least seven months, asks what he is to do with it, thereby showing to how great an extent, the present system of training the individual soldier to think for himself acts on some individuals. Not having sufficient command of his vernacular to tell him to put it “where the monkey put the nuts,” I tell him to bring it along.

6-: From The Boston Guardian (Boston, Lincolnshire, England) of Saturday 2nd July 1910:


Jane Evison, widow, Old Leake, was summoned for being found drunk at Wrangle, on June 22nd.
P.c. Stephenson proved the case, and said when he went to serve the summons on the defendant she locked the door of her house, and kept him outside for a couple of hours. She then went into the yard, and he gave her the summons, and she said, “You may take that back and put it where the monkey put the nuts.” (Laughter.)

7-: From The Marriage of Captain Kettle (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers, 1912), by the English novelist Charles John Cutcliffe Wright Hyne (1866-1944):

“Yes, Mr. McTodd.”
“Aboot yon black fellow the stewardess kenned. For why did he ask if I could do him a bit job ashore, and offer me a fi’pound note on account?”
“I don’t know. But naturally you told him you were engaged here, and he could put his money where the monkey put the nuts.”
“Man,” said McTodd solemnly, “you’d never guess it of me, but I’ll tell ye in confidence that I come from the Norrth, and up there it’s said to be unlucky if you refuse siller if it’s as good as offered ye. So I—I angled him, and I landed the note.”

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