Why do we say "Monkey see, monkey do"?

Well-Known Expressions

Monkey see, monkey do

Meaning:

To copy without understanding why and/or thinking of the consequences

Background:

This expression is thought to originate with the folklore of Mali, West Africa. It appears to have been in use in Jamaica in the 18th century and migrated to the USA around the early 1920s. It can be found in the UK from the 1950s, possibly as a legacy of the US military presence in the UK during World War II, but more likely brought in by the many Jamaican immigrants to the UK in the 1950s.

The French have a similar expression: Singe qui voit, singe qui fait

Alphabetical list of expressions

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