Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

Idioms, sayings, fascinating language facts… Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in other languages

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle meaning

The idiom monkey’s uncle is used to express astonishment, complete surprise or disbelief. A synonymous expression is It’s beyond belief! It can also be used to point out the infeasability of a situation, in the same way that “when pigs fly” is used.

Example

— Hey dude, there is a news article about a dog reciting “To be or not to be”!
— Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!

“The government wants to improve public services,” said Boris. “Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle,” said Jeremy, “didn’t they just slash the social services budget in half?”

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in Catalan

There is a widespread idiom in Catalan which reads N’hi ha per a llogar-hi cadires! (literally, ‘We could even rent chairs!’) which is also used to express astonishment, complete surprise or disbelief. It can also be used to point out the infeasibility of a situation, in the same way that ‘(well) I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!’ is used in English.

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in French

In French there are several equivalent expressions to ‘(well) I’ll be a monkey’s uncle’ , for example, the most emblematic and international of all: ‘Oh la la!’ , which usually has rather positive connotations. There’s also C’est étonnant! (It’s incredible!), Je n’en reviens pas! (I can’t believe it!), J’en suis resté bouche bée (I’m speechless), Tu plaisantes! (literally, C’mon! You can’t be serious) … and one that we love:  Mais qu’est ce que c’est que ça! (literally, ‘but what is it!’), Which usually has an angry connotation. Finally, we can also use the expression Mince alors (which has the approximate meaning of (upon) my word!).

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in German

To express surprise in German, there is the curious idiom Ich glaub mich knutscht ein Elch! (Literally, I think an elk is kissing me!. And the interjection” Ach, nee! “(Literally,” Oh, come on!” ). * An elk is a ruminant mammal similar to a deer.

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in Portuguese

In Portuguese, to express surprise in the face of something unexpected, there is a very curious expression, one of those idioms which translated literally sounds quite surrealistic: Macacos me mordam! (Literally, May macaques bite me!). Nevertheless, it uses monkeys, just like in English.

I’ll be a monkey’s uncle in Spanish

Here, surely, a never-ending debate could be opened, but the closest interjection to (Well) I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! in Spanish is ¡Lo que hay que ver! or Hay que ver! . There’s also ¡Madre mía! (literally My mother!) Since it can express surprise, disappointment or displeasure. Although in a more colloquial record, there is also another possibility that we particulary love: Cágate lorito! (literally, Shit yourself little parrot!) . In Spanish we would also have other expressions of surprise in the presence of something unexpected, such as ¡Que me parta un rayo! (literlly, May a beam break me in two!).

Nuts ~ Tocat del Bolet is a blog that aims to promote and share Catalan language and culture throughout its most typical expressions, in a fun and informative way.

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One thought on “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!”

  1. My husband is from Nebraska. He says there’s an old expression -“the monkey’s nuts.”
    Have you ever heard of that? Can’t find it anywhere.

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