One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Usually with capital initial. A character in a morris dance representing a baboon, and typically engaging in wild, foolish, or lewd behaviour.
2South African derogatory, figurative, rare A baboon; specifically (South African) the chacma, Papio ursinus. Also figurative (derogatory): a fool, an idiot. Compare "babion". Now rare.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Shakespeare (1564–1616), playwright and poet. From Dutch baviaan, † baviaen baboon.
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