the higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail
- The further an unsuitable person is promoted, the more obvious his inadequacies become. In various more or less polite forms.
c 1395 WYCLIF Bible (1850) Proverbs iii. 35 (gloss) The filthe of her foli aperith more, as the filthe of the hynd partis of an ape aperith more, whanne he stieth [climbs] on high.
c 1594 BACON Promus 102 He doth like the ape that the higher he clymbes the more he shows his ars.
1670 J. RAY English Proverbs 57 The higher the Ape goes, the more he shews his tail... The higher beggars or base bred persons are advanced, the more they discover the lowness and baseness of their spirits and tempers.
1743 POPE Dunciad iv. 157 (note) The higher you climb, the more you shew your A—.
1873 TROLLOPE Phineas Redux I. xxxiv. He’s to be pitchforked up to the Exchequer... The higher a monkey climbs—; you know the proverb.
1985 Washington Post 3 Nov. C3 Let me tell you something Cookie and try to remember it the rest of your life, will you? The higher a monkey climbs the more he shows his ass.
2000 Washington Post 12 Dec. D6 The great expectations cost Norv Turner his job. And the attending soap opera quality made Dan Snyder a villainous stick figure across the nation. The lesson is obvious: The higher you attempt to climb, the more your behind shows.
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monkey — see the higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys softly, softly, catchee monkey … Proverbs new dictionary
tail — see every herring must hang by its own gill the higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail it is idle to swallow the cow and choke on the tail … Proverbs new dictionary
Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind … Proverbs new dictionary
climb — see he that would eat the fruit must climb the tree the higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail … Proverbs new dictionary
high — see God is high above, and the tsar is far away the mountains are high, and the emperor is far away the higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail … Proverbs new dictionary
ape — see an ape’s an ape, a varlet’s a varlet, though they be clad in silk or scarlet the higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail … Proverbs new dictionary
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