One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of various kinds of small boat used as a tender, tow-boat, etc., especially in a port.
2A narrowboat used on a canal.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Peter Simmonds (1814–1897), newsagent and journalist. From monkey + boat. The reason for the name is unclear: the etymology implicit in quot. 1993 at sense 2 has not been authenticated.
monkey boat/ˈmʌŋkɪ bəʊt/
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