What Does Not My Monkey Not My Circus Mean?

edThis proverb, “Not my monkey, not my circus,” is a way of saying that certain issues or problems are not our concern, so we aren’t responsible for them. It implies that we should not meddle or get involved in business and events that are not our own.

This proverb has its roots in the 1960s or earlier, when it was part of circus terminology. A ringleader, or “circus boss,” would assign a handler, or “monkey,” to look after the animals in the show. Thus, if the animals made a mistake, the handler was responsible; if it wasn’t their monkey, then it wasn’t their circus.

This proverb can also be used to express distancing oneself from things that have no personal relevance.

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