Colorful Colloquialisms – “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.” (Polish)

Anyone learning Polish? A great post and a great phrase to use!

living with linguaphilia

During a conversation with a coworker, she came out with a phrase I’d never heard before: “Not my monkey, not my circus.”  I understood perfectly what she was trying to say, but I was still amused by the phrase, so of course I had to look it up.

Shocked monkey Image via tanli at

A quick search turned up an entire page of results before I’d even entered the entire phrase, making me feel like maybe I should have known this one.  It turns out that my coworker’s version was slightly different from the original, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” It means, basically, “not my problem” or “not my responsibility” – “I’ve washed my hands of this”.  Everything I’ve found indicates that this is originally a Polish phrase: “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.”

This seems like a great use of an idiom to change a mood.  In a situation…

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