from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A prefix in many words of Greek origin or formation, meaning ‘single,’ ‘one.’
  • noun The black howler or howling monkey, Mycetes villosus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Zoöl.) The black howler (Mycetes villosus), a monkey of Central America.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective colloquial abbreviation for monaural or monophonic; having only a single audio channel
  • noun slang (UK, Australia) A bicycle or motorcycle trick where the front wheel is lifted off the ground while riding
  • noun Short name for the disease mononucleosis

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an acute disease characterized by fever and swollen lymph nodes and an abnormal increase of mononuclear leucocytes or monocytes in the bloodstream; not highly contagious; some believe it can be transmitted by kissing
  • adjective designating sound transmission or recording or reproduction over a single channel


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Shortening of mononucleosis

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from the prefix mono- meaning “one, single”

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Shortening of monophonic


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  • Spanish for monkey.

    October 24, 2008

  • Usually when a word has many meanings in English, they are the result of a centuries-long process, many of them washed up on the banks of oblivion by our time. In the case of mono, however, they're all new:

    (1) 1851: Mono, a Californian tribe

    (2) 1924: a picador's assistant, a monosabio

    (3) 1937: a boiler suit, especially those worn by Republican militia in the Spanish Civil War (literally "monkey")

    (4) 1959: monophonic recording

    (5) 1964: the disease mononucleosis

    (6) 1970: monochrome, black and white

    (7) 1977: a single-hulled boat, a monohull

    (8) 1979: a single-stranded fibre, a monofilament

    And it's perhaps a little surprising that no use of Japanese mono has come into English as a separate word. (The OED of course lists mono no aware under that phrase.)

    June 3, 2009