(a) monkey on back

(a) monkey on back
a monkey on (your) back a serious problem that you cannot forget.

When you know you have to do everything perfectly, it puts a giant monkey on your back.

Usage notes: also used in the form get the monkey off your back - to end a problem:

By winning the championship, this team has finally got the monkey off its back.

Etymology: based on an earlier meaning of a monkey on your back (= a habit of using an illegal drug)

New idioms dictionary. 2014.

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