monkey’s wedding, noun phrase

PortugueseShow more Probably ultimately from Portuguese casamento de rapôsa (‘vixen’s wedding’) which has the same sense.
In the Portuguese colonies in Africa, the word for ‘vixen’ (rapôsa) was presumably replaced by a word meaning ‘monkey’ (e.g. macaco), in the same way as gambá (opossum) is used instead of rapôsa in other parts of the Portuguese-speaking world. The adapted phrase may have come into South African English directly from Portuguese, or through Dutch (see quotation 1963) or Zulu (see quotation 1973).
The simultaneous occurrence of sunshine and rain. Also attributive.
1949 Cape Times 29 Nov. 16The Peninsula had a ‘monkey’s wedding’ rainfall yesterday with the sun shining at intervals and rain falling intermittently.
1953 D. Rooke S. Afr. Twins 101The clouds shifted and the sun peeped out. A fine silver rain was still falling. ‘It’s a Monkey’s Wedding’, cried Tiensie.
[1963 S. Cloete Rags of Glory 336A monkey’s wedding day of love — that was how the Dutch described a day of alternate bright sunshine and showers.]
1971 K. Shippey on Radio South Africa 20 Nov.As I speak to you we have a burst of late sunshine making this into a monkey’s wedding and a half...Lets hope this sunshine does sweep the rain away.
[1973 Informant, KwaZulu-NatalJust for a joke in Zulu we call it ‘umshado we Zinkawu’ wedding for monkeys, if the sun comes out in the rain.]
1988 K. Barris Small Change 106It was a wistful morning with the sun attempting to shine through a drizzle. When he was a child, that was called a monkey’s wedding.
1989 J. Hobbs Thoughts in Makeshift Mortuary 362‘Dumela,’ Sarah says, trying to smile at her though it is like a monkey’s wedding, sunshine through rain.
1990 A.E. Silva Informant, GrahamstownIt’s a monkey’s wedding, ’cause it’s rainy and it’s sunny.
The simultaneous occurrence of sunshine and rain. Also attributive.
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