where the monkey put the nuts

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where the monkey put the nuts

Post by Archived Topic » Sat Jul 17, 2004 5:46 am

What's the meaning of these 2 (idiomatic ?) expressions ?

Put it where the monkey put the nuts !

I'm sure it wasn't all jam.
Submitted by MK DUNE (Paris - France)
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where the monkey put the nuts

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:01 am

What silly film is this you're trying to subtitle?
Reply from Natalio Elta (Paris - France)
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where the monkey put the nuts

Post by Archived Reply » Sat Jul 17, 2004 6:15 am

MK, The first expression is straightforward, but on the second I can’t say for sure, having never seen that particular one, but I will take a reasonable guess.
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Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang:

PUT IT WHERE THE MONKEY PUTS THE NUTS: phrase [20th century] a phrase of coarse dismissal, i.e. shove it up your arse! [[very subtle!!]]
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I’M SURE IT WAS’T ALL JAM: ‘Putting on the jam’ is an old expression I remember from way back (but haven’t heard it for a very long time), which always meant to me ‘putting on airs.’ According to Cassell’s, however, JAM has many, many slang meanings (19). I’m going to take a guess that the one referred to here is the Australian slang expression for ‘adopting a self-important, pretentious manner or using affected speech.’ [[putting on airs]]. This would imply that your expression means that the I’m sure the behavior observed wasn’t all affectation, but was wholly or partially genuine and is just how that person sometimes naturally acts or talks.
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JAM: noun [late 19th century] (Australian) affectation, pretentiousness; thus ‘put on the jam,’ to act in an affected manner, ‘jammy,’ affected [the image of spreading jam on bread]
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Ken G (Fort Collins, CO, USA) – November 7, 2002



Reply from Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.)
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Re: where the monkey put the nuts

Post by npetrikov » Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:59 pm

Could the expression be related to “money for jam,” meaning money obtained with very little effort? “Jam,” that is, meaning “fruit preserve,” the symbol of an easy life to anyone with a memory of Victorian childhood, when jam was the proverbial reward (or bribe) for good behavior, and a special treat at teatime, when the usual fare was mere bread-and-butter. “Money for jam,” then, would be from Nanny’s point of view: a small price to pay; whereas “it’s all jam” would be from her charge’s point of view: perpetual reward.
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Re: where the monkey put the nuts

Post by trolley » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:00 pm

I'd be willing to bet that you are correct about which "jam" the phrase refers to....the spreadable kind, the kind that all kids love, the kind that the White Queen offered (or didn't offer) to Alice. Jam is (or was) something very desirable.
"I had a pretty good family life, growing up in the 60s..Don't get me wrong-it wasn't all jam.(milk and honey, sugar and spice, fun and games, a bed of roses, Garden of Eden,...)
I'm pretty sure that "wasn't all jam" simply means it wasn't all good
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Re: where the monkey put the nuts

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:37 am

Some interesting wrinkles relating to the word jam are described in this Wikipedia article.
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