Definition of gibbon in US English:



  • A small, slender tree-dwelling ape with long powerful arms and loud hooting calls, native to the forests of Southeast Asia.

    Family Hylobatidae and genus Hylobates: several species

    • ‘The four orang-utans and two gibbons were returned to Indonesia after being illegally poached and smuggled to Japan eight months ago.’
    • ‘Today it comprises humans, the gibbons, and the great apes (orangutan, chimpanzee, and gorilla).’
    • ‘Only five percent of mammals are thought to be socially monogamous, including gibbons, jackals, and tamarins.’
    • ‘Over the years, the temple has became a famous sanctuary for tigers, deer, boars, peacocks, fowl, gibbons and horses.’
    • ‘Those species were chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, gibbon, macaque and owl monkey.’


Late 18th century: from French, from an Indian dialect word.