Monkey see, monkey do
is a saying that originated in Jamaica in the early 18th century and popped up in American culture
in the early 1920s. The saying refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works. Another definition implies the act of mimicry
, usually with limited knowledge of the consequences.
The saying probably originates from the folklore of Mali
, West Africa, made well-known by Esphyr Slobodkina
's retelling, which she calls Caps for Sale (A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business)
. There are also various other versions of this folk-tale
, such as The Hatseller and the Monkeys
by Baba Wagué Diakité
, set in Mali.
In French, the same saying exists: Singe qui voit, singe qui fait
Monkey See Monkey Do has become so popular that a new series has been produced which is interactive with young children. The TV series is shown on PBS Sprout where it has grown to be among the first three positions, Disney Latin America shows the show and another 100 countries .
Three wise monkeys