Definition of ape in English:

ape

noun

  • 1A large primate that lacks a tail, including the gorilla, chimpanzees, orangutan, and gibbons.

    Families Pongidae and Hylobatidae

    • ‘Previous animal work with apes, dolphins, and parrots followed the experimental control paradigm.’
    • ‘Like humans, apes and monkeys have to live in complex social groupings in which guile is needed to get ahead or simply to survive.’
    • ‘We already know that monkeys and apes have remarkable levels of intelligence.’
    • ‘Nearly 25 species of apes, monkeys, lemurs, and other primates are imperilled and may soon disappear.’
    • ‘Displays of deep caring and empathy across the generations are common in gorillas, and in the other African apes (chimpanzees and bonobos) as well.’
    • ‘Chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans are all different species of apes.’
    • ‘Scientists believe that the two branches of primates - apes and humans - diverged five to eight million years ago and evolved along separate paths.’
    • ‘Some apes, such as gorillas, showed no self-recognition whatsoever.’
    • ‘Sometimes it's as interesting to study primate researchers as it is to study the apes, baboons, and monkeys.’
    • ‘He obviously has great love for the apes and monkeys he's known, and his pictures and anecdotes invite the reader to feel, rightly, that primates are members of our own extended family.’
    • ‘Chimpanzees and other apes have historically been separated from humans in classification schemes, with humans deemed the only living members of the hominid family of species.’
    • ‘In fact, Huxley argued, a human differs much less from an ape, such as a chimpanzee or gorilla, than an ape does from a baboon.’
    • ‘Most experts believe the unusual band of apes are giant chimpanzees that display gorilla-like behavior.’
    • ‘Some scientists, he said, believe that even apes lack this capability.’
    • ‘Like other primates, these apes exhibit humanlike qualities - from careful parenting to the use of tools.’
    • ‘Humans share more than 98 percent of their DNA with chimpanzees, making the ape the closest living relative to Homo sapiens.’
    • ‘In the past year alone, numerous studies have highlighted our remarkable likeness not only to chimps, but to monkeys and apes of all kinds.’
    • ‘Gorillas are the largest and most powerful of the apes.’
    • ‘Fermenting fruit (high in sugars and calories) can be a significant source of energy for monkeys and apes.’
    • ‘The London zoo has an extensive collection of birds, small mammals, bears and hippos, and apes and monkeys.’
    • ‘Mother apes - chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, humans - dote on their babies.’
    • ‘Orangutans are big apes, adult males can weigh over 80 kilograms and spend about 80% of their waking hours feeding their bulk.’
    primate, simian
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    1. 1.1 Used in names of macaque monkeys with short tails, e.g. Barbary ape.
      • ‘There are UK warships at harbour here, and off duty squaddies roaring around the streets on mopeds, but what we really came to see is apes, Barbary Apes.’
      • ‘The Celebes Crested Macaque (Macaca nigra) is also known as the Crested Black Macaque, Sulawesi Crested Macaque, or the Black 'Ape'.’
      • ‘Barbary apes live in Morocco and north Algeria.’
    2. 1.2 (in general use) any monkey.
      • ‘‘There was talk of computer generated apes,’ he reports.’
      • ‘You seem to be wary of anthropomorphising apes.’
      • ‘Safari World's general manager insists that all his apes were acquired through the proper channels, or bred in captivity.’
      • ‘Generally all the apes are endangered and vulnerable.’
      • ‘After all, our two species are different, no matter how anthropomorphic the apes from the advert appeared.’
      • ‘However, the real stars of this circus are the animals, which include nine tigers, three lions, five bears, six apes, four horses and some 20 dogs of various species.’
  • 2An unintelligent or clumsy person.

    • ‘Comparing primates to humans makes apes of us all.’
    • ‘The million or so who voted for the party last year aren't all knuckle-dragging racist apes.’
    • ‘Parker and his pal see people as, more or less, apes: dumb simians driven by instinct to act like total and utter idiots.’
    • ‘If so why is she drooling over this ape of a man who is so Neanderthal, he can't string more than two words together.’
    lout, boor, barbarian, neanderthal, churl, clown, gawk, hulk, bumpkin, yokel
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  • 3archaic An inferior imitator or mimic.

    ‘cunning is but the ape of wisdom’
    • ‘If unskilfully and casually treated, it will be but the ape of nature.’
    • ‘It is not God, but the Ape of God that speaks here.’
    • ‘Prejudice, according to such an account of it, is the ape of reason’
    copier, copyist, emulator, follower, mimic, plagiarist, parrot, echo
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verb

[with object]
  • Imitate (someone or something), especially in an absurd or unthinking way.

    ‘new architecture can respect the old without aping its style’
    • ‘Some may even be cheap knock-offs, made in imitation of the originals by later peoples who didn't understand the theory, and just aped the outside trappings.’
    • ‘Becoming less self-obsessed, learning from failures and aping successful people's body language works as well in the boardroom as the singles bar.’
    • ‘By aping the West, children and their parents were jeopardising their health, said paediatricians.’
    • ‘In the grand process of liberating herself, she only ends up aping the male.’
    • ‘Incidentally, the kids are only aping the behaviour they witness in real life.’
    • ‘Not even a professional actor could have aped her shock when I accused her of committing a criminal act.’
    • ‘But the Birmingham group is not just aping the capital; it has identified its own priorities, based on interviews with 3,000 people.’
    • ‘I think the reason that they top the whole Douglas franchise is that they're aping adventure flicks of the '30s, and fairly well, at that.’
    • ‘Unlike others of their age, they are not addicted to Western music, nor are they blindly aping any trend as a shortcut to fame.’
    • ‘Most of the show's highlights came from Dennis, particularly when he aped the walk of a vicious flesh-eating dinosaur from Jurassic Park.’
    • ‘On the other hand, I've lost count of the number of bands I've seen blatantly aping the sound of the moment.’
    • ‘While many current outfits have aped the sound and mastered the beat, the space that the original funk outfits offered has often been lacking.’
    • ‘When he first started trying to make music, he aped American hip-hop and went nowhere.’
    • ‘A growing number of women are now aping the worst excesses of binge-drinking men.’
    • ‘It was there that he and academic colleagues researched high performance pattern-matching by aping the electronic impulses in the brain.’
    • ‘They admit that aping the president was at first a touchy subject.’
    • ‘This was the reason why some of the Western observers had paid such attention to the Russian political groups which, in their appearance and through the use of symbols, aped the German Nazi.’
    • ‘The massive star of the new movie King Kong, which opens today, effectively apes real gorillas.’
    • ‘Startled women tend to mimic those around them, aping relatives or imitating things they see on TV.’
    • ‘The guy's just aping his mentors, ill-equipped to blaze his own path.’
    imitate, mimic, copy, do an impression of, echo, parrot
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Phrases

  • go ape

    • informal Become very angry or excited.

      ‘your kids will go ape over these frozen pops!’
      • ‘Mind you, most of Europe went ape over the election, and it doubled my fun.’
      • ‘Aileen is played by Charlize Theron in a performance that everybody's going ape over, and it's easy to see why.’
      • ‘Charlie went ape, he hurled the planter at the lounge door, the wood splintered, cracked.’
      • ‘Barney brought Ronnie over and the fans went ape.’
      • ‘When the reactionaries saw that issue they went ape.’
      • ‘It was a hit, but people didn't exactly go ape over it.’
      • ‘He went ape when he netted against his former club ten minutes from time after he flicked the ball up with his left foot and rammed it into the net with his right.’
      • ‘He will go ape and beat his opponents down.’
      • ‘Kelly went ape, ridiculed such a notion and sent the man packing from his premises.’
      • ‘In a desperate bid to regain his ascendancy he threatened their actual incomes; and the party room went ape.’
      mad, crazy, insane, out of one's mind, hysterical, beside oneself, frenzied, crazed, demented, maniacal, manic, frantic, wound up, worked up, raving, wild
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Origin

Old English apa, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch aap and German Affe.

Pronunciation

ape

/eɪp/