I can't find a definite etymology of this word, which seems French. Checking the Online Etymological Dictionary (https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=grivet), it only brings up the word "vervet," suggesting it is derived from "vert grivet."

Checking on the Trésor de la langue française informatisé (http://stella.atilf.fr/Dendien/scripts/tlfiv5/visusel.exe?11;s=2523475920;r=1;nat=;sol=0;), I found that grivet is sometimes used as an alternate word for "grive", meaning either thrush or infantryman. Is this connected to the "monkey" sense?

  • "Grivet" is not used for "grive"; the remark in the TLFi introduces derived terms (grive, grivet, grivier), which, by the way, are merely French slang. cnrtl.fr/definition/grivet
    – LPH
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 17:55
  • Where have you seen that “grivet” refers to monkey?
    – Toto
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


An etymology that makes sense (because of the grey-greenish fur, see below), even though it is not certified, is the proposed etymology provided in the entry of the Larousse for "grivet".

Larousse grivet nom masculin
(peut-être altération de gris-vert)
Cercopithèque gris verdâtre, des savanes d'Afrique.

Synonymes : singe vert - vervet

Therefore, his word would not be related to "grive".

  • I think this etymology is accurate. Because the "vervet" is actually a close cousin, but a different monkey, greener - One might say "vert-vert" - in contrast to the more olive shade of the grivet's back fur. I think Djibouti broken French, as is often the case in our colonial Empire, had to come up with an answer deemed satisfactory by the locals (most of whom were trained in French through Petit Nègre and other ad hoc military pidgins). And so "the greener monkey of the two close species shall henceforth be named "gringrin". And the other, however slightly more grey, you can call "greygrin" Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 21:28
  • Thanks! I think this is the right answer.
    – poere
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 21:48

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