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orangutan

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noun orang·u·tan \ə-ˈraŋ-ə-ˌtaŋ, -ˈraŋ-gə-, -ˌtan\

Simple Definition of orangutan

  • : a large ape that has very long arms and reddish-brown hair

Full Definition of orangutan

  1. :  a largely herbivorous arboreal anthropoid ape (Pongo pygmaeus) of Borneo and Sumatra that is about 23 as large as the gorilla and has brown skin, long sparse reddish-brown hair, and very long arms

Illustration of orangutan

Origin of orangutan

Bazaar Malay (Malay-based pidgin), from Malay orang man + hutan forest


First Known Use: 1691


ORANGUTAN Defined for Kids

orangutan

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noun orang·utan \ə-ˈraŋ-ə-ˌtaŋ, -ˌtan\

Definition of orangutan

  1. :  a large ape of Borneo and Sumatra that lives in trees, eats mostly fruit, leaves, and other plant matter, and has very long arms, long reddish brown hair, and a nearly hairless face



History for orangutan

Orangutans live in dense tropical forests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, part of Indonesia. Like most apes they look a bit like humans. In a language called Malay, spoken by many people of Indonesia as a second language, the apes were given a name formed from Malay orang, “man,” and hutan, “forest”—in other words, “man of the forest.” Europeans visiting the islands adopted the word orangutan, and it found its way into English.



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