One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of certain apes) move by using the arms to swing from branch to branch.‘the gibbons brachiate energetically across their enclosure’‘a brachiating mode of locomotion’
- ‘For the gibbon, the only truly arm-swinging primate, the arms are long and flexible, and the legs, short and reduced - basically to get them out of the way as the owner brachiates through the trees.’
- ‘Humans are descended from apes, brachiating creatures who are at home hanging from branches.’
- ‘But whereas my distant ancestors were brachiating primates hastily adapted for lives on open plains, hers were dedicated hunters, perhaps forest-dwelling quadrupeds who - God knows how or when - began to use tools.’
- ‘He watched Kitter brachiate from tree to tree in the hazy air.’
- ‘Here we see the elusive and shy marsh gibbon, brachiating through the sphagnum swamps.’
1Branched, especially having widely spread paired branches on alternate sides.
- ‘Maple trees are brachiate.’
- ‘Isidia are extensions of the surface of the thallus and may be cylindrical, globular, brachiate (branched) or lobula (lobe-like).’
- ‘It is a discussion of the classification and relations of the brachiate crinoids.’
- ‘Others have maintained that the earliest brachiate echinoderms had only three arms.’
Mid 18th century (originally in the sense ‘having paired branches’): from Latin brachium ‘arm’ + -ate.
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