Definition of gorilla in English:



  • 1A powerfully built great ape with a large head and short neck, found in the forests of central Africa. It is the largest living primate.

    • ‘Conflict, illegal mining, and the growing bush-meat trade have all contributed to a 70 percent population decline of the eastern lowland gorilla, according to conservation groups that announced the preliminary findings this week.’
    • ‘In less than a month, they destroyed more than 4,000 acres of prime habitat for one of the world's most critically endangered species, the mountain gorilla.’
    • ‘The mountain gorilla was discovered by Western explorers around a century ago.’
    • ‘Most knowledge of gorilla behavior comes from studies of the eastern mountain gorilla, found mostly in Rwanda and Uganda.’
    • ‘The chimp and mountain gorilla are the only great apes found naturally is East Africa.’
    • ‘Mayor just returned from tracking the western lowland gorilla in Central African Republic, the subject of an EXPLORER program that will premiere early next year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Western lowland gorilla families vary in size, sometimes numbering more than 20 individuals.’
    • ‘The great apes, chimpanzees, orang-utans or gorillas as well as children respond in the same way.’
    • ‘The mountain gorilla, Gorilla beringei beringei, became known to science 100 years ago.’
    • ‘It has a relatively short face and canine teeth that are shorter than those of gorillas or chimpanzees.’
    • ‘The mountain gorilla - the most rare with only about 600 animals remaining - is found at high altitudes, generally between 5,400 ft to 12,440 ft, in the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.’
    • ‘Two at risk are great apes found only in Congo - eastern lowland gorillas and bonobos, or pygmy chimpanzees.’
    • ‘Osborn chose to ignore Darwin's correct guess that because Africa was where gorillas and chimps lived, the cradle of mankind would be found there.’
    • ‘One of the most endangered species in the world and the largest living primate, the lowland gorilla originates from the tropical rain forests of equatorial Africa, particularly the Congo and Cameroon.’
    • ‘Kukee, a 34-year-old western lowland gorilla, is thought to have died in the early hours of Tuesday morning after suffering from a short illness over the festive season.’
    • ‘The news contrasts sharply with recent, more detailed surveys for another gorilla subspecies, the eastern mountain gorilla, which is found mainly on the Virunga Mountains in the Congo and Uganda.’
    • ‘A western lowland gorilla peers out at onlookers deep within a remote forest in the Central African Republic.’
    • ‘There are antelope and deer in this part of the forest; bigger animals such as forest elephants, gorillas and big cats can only be found nearer to the border with Cameroon.’
    • ‘These include the Sumatran orangutan of Indonesia, the mountain gorilla of Africa, and northern muriqui of Brazil.’
    1. 1.1informal A heavily built aggressive-looking man.
      • ‘Here's a great idea...we'll team an attractive, smart, considerate wife with a fat, obnoxious, gorilla of a husband... people will never see this coming!’
      • ‘Robin’s new boss is a gorilla.’
    2. 1.2[with modifier]A dominant contender within a particular sphere of operation or activity.
      ‘the 800-lb gorilla of the home mortgage industry’
      • ‘Anyone who tries confronts Gemstar-TV Guide, the undisputed gorilla of the IPG space.’
      • ‘Others have not quite taken to the Net as their next ' 800 lb gorilla marketing medium '.’
      • ‘TV is the 800-pound gorilla of traditional advertising because it works.’
      • ‘He forgets the 800-pound gorilla of presidential elections: the antiquated, undemocratic Electoral College.’
      • ‘It is not easy to predict what business will emerge as a ' gorilla ', the company that will dominate the sector like Microsoft, Oracle or Intel.’
      • ‘As one analyst says the 400-pound gorilla in the room is the auto bailout.’
      • ‘Ford, on the other hand, is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla, says Hazel.’
      • ‘The initial buzz and projected rapid adoption rate of the technology is being driven by suppliers' zeal to stay in the good graces of the proverbial 900-pound gorilla.’
      • ‘That company was definitely the 800-pound gorilla in the industry.’
      • ‘I would hope that America goes in there - we're the 800-pound gorilla in this universe.’
      • ‘That is driving that 800-pound gorilla of the home price downturn crazy.’


From an alleged African word for a wild or hairy person, found in the Greek account of the voyage of the Carthaginian explorer Hanno in the 5th or 6th century BC; adopted in 1847 as the specific name of the ape.