ape

noun
\ ˈāp How to pronounce ape (audio) \

Definition of ape

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : any of various large tailless semi-erect primates of Africa and southeastern Asia (such as the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, or gibbon)

called also anthropoid, anthropoid ape

— compare great ape
b : monkey especially : one of the larger tailless or short-tailed Old World forms not used technically
2a : mimic
b : a large uncouth person

ape

verb
aped; aping

Definition of ape (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to copy closely but often clumsily and ineptly

Definition of ape (Entry 3 of 3)

: crazy, wild usually used in the phrase go ape

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ape

Noun

apelike \ ˈāp-​ˌlīk How to pronounce ape (audio) \ adjective

Verb

aper noun

Synonyms for ape

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for ape

Verb

copy, imitate, mimic, ape, mock mean to make something so that it resembles an existing thing. copy suggests duplicating an original as nearly as possible. copied the painting and sold the fake as an original imitate suggests following a model or a pattern but may allow for some variation. imitate a poet's style mimic implies a close copying (as of voice or mannerism) often for fun, ridicule, or lifelike imitation. pupils mimicking their teacher ape may suggest presumptuous, slavish, or inept imitating of a superior original. American fashion designers aped their European colleagues mock usually implies imitation with derision. mocking a vain man's pompous manner

Examples of ape in a Sentence

Noun Her boyfriend's some big ape she met at a party. Verb She apes the speech and manners of the rich. was caught aping the substitute teacher's thick accent
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Miyamoto began tinkering with a story about a carpenter, a damsel in distress, and a giant ape. Simon Parkin, The New Yorker, "Shigeru Miyamoto Wants to Create a Kinder World," 20 Dec. 2020 Even in normal times, those who work at ape sanctuaries or study apes in the wild are perpetually trying to stave off disease. Jackie Rocheleau, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Researchers Are Protecting Great Apes from Covid-19," 8 Dec. 2020 When Martha briefly runs out of the house to chase after a friend who has left without saying goodbye, she is accosted by a group of young white men who begin taunting her with ape sounds. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Steve McQueen and the Art of Gathering," 16 Dec. 2020 Most gaming chairs ape racing style car seats, but Secretlab has elevated the form with sturdy construction, adjustable tilt and recline and a wonderful memory foam cushion with cooling gel inside. Simon Hill, USA TODAY, "30 amazing gifts gamers actually want," 10 Dec. 2020 In the United States and overseas, breathless speculation raged over the ape with the shaved head. John Maccormack, ExpressNews.com, "Oliver with a twist - Retired freak show chimp still scientific mystery," 9 Dec. 2020 On the outside, both Ford SUVs ape the design elements from the original Broncos of the 1960s and '70s, yet the two are very dissimilar underneath. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands Earns the Bronco Name," 7 Dec. 2020 Several primatologists were reluctant to comment on the details of the formal investigation but say Matsuzawa’s contributions to science and to ape conservation and welfare are enormous. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Famed primatologist fired for mismanagement of funds for chimp habitat," 1 Dec. 2020 For our fast-twitch ape ancestors, the stresses of life predominantly involved short bursts of big forces, like climbing trees, so that’s what our fast-twitch muscles respond to. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, "Rethinking the Cross-Training Paradox," 19 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Gringa goes out of its way to ape the sort of archival work that fiction writers who deal carefully with history engage in—only to dismiss it all as meaningless. Andrew Altschul, The New York Review of Books, "Fiction and Responsibility," 6 July 2020 Sumit Ghosh’s strategy seems to be to ape TikTok—literally. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "The race to become India’s TikTok is on—and everyone’s struggling," 2 July 2020 On Thursday, however, those who tuned in to watch streams of operas, orchestral concerts and chamber music programs, from Berlin to Philadelphia, weren’t aping the live audience. New York Times, "In a Pandemic, Musicians Play in Empty Halls for Audiences Online," 13 Mar. 2020 American media wield influence around the world and are widely aped: the New York Times boasts readers everywhere; websites such as BuzzFeed have inspired similar clickbait sites in dozens of countries. The Economist, "Teenagers are rewriting the rules of the news," 18 Dec. 2019 Besides taking the branding of the Sony camera lineup, the Xperia 1 II tries to ape a few features and design touches from the Sony camera lineup. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "New Sony Xperia 1 II smartphone looks handsome, costs a ridiculous $1,300," 24 Feb. 2020 Company leaders aped his aggressive management style and sometimes even unconsciously mimicked his tendency to rock back and forth in meetings. Dina Bass / Bloomberg, Time, "Bill Gates Announces Departure From Microsoft's Board, Capping Years of Radical Change," 14 Mar. 2020 The black-and-white images aped elaborate still life paintings, including their moral and religious symbolism—a shiny apple could represent Eve’s fall, for instance, or a fuzzy peach could suggest fertility. Laura Mallonee, Wired, "The History of Food Photos—From Still Lifes to Brunch 'Grams," 29 Jan. 2020 A half-generation ago aspiring politicians aped the Kennedy style (Gary Hart with his hand in his suit-coat pocket like JFK, scores of liberals standing on windy beach bluffs with their blazers slung over their shoulders like RFK). David M. Shribman, BostonGlobe.com, "Death of RFK’s granddaughter is latest burden for Kennedys," 3 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But now the world’s gorillas, and also their great-ape cousins, the chimpanzees, bonobos and orang-utans, face another threat from their human neighbours: covid-19. The Economist, "The pandemic and wild animals Protecting great apes from covid-19," 16 May 2020 But a close analysis of the rounded head of the femur revealed that their hips were carrying weight differently and much more ape-like by hanging out in trees. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Ancient humans are having a moment. Here are the fascinating new things we've learned this week about our ancestors," 2 Apr. 2020 Every hominin species in the fossil record has its own unique mix of familiar human traits and more ape-like ones, shaped by their environments and lifestyles. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Long after some hominins were bipedal, others stuck to the trees," 30 Mar. 2020 Walking upright on two legs is considered a human trait that separates us from our ape relatives, like chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Ancient humans are having a moment. Here are the fascinating new things we've learned this week about our ancestors," 2 Apr. 2020 That species was an early member of our genus who walked upright and had a mixture of human and ape-like features. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists put stone tools through modern engineering tests," 3 Feb. 2020 The fire started in a corner of the ape house’s roof in the first minutes of the new year and spread rapidly. Washington Post, "3 women investigated for causing deadly blaze at German zoo," 2 Jan. 2020 Students primed with black faces detected ape images more quickly. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "Meet the psychologist exploring unconscious bias—and its tragic consequences for society," 26 Mar. 2020 Danuvius is undoubtedly a very important fossil, with lots to teach us about how varied ape locomotion can be. Vivien Shaw, Quartz, "Scientists want to rewrite the evolution of walking—but should they?," 14 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ape.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ape

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Verb

1632, in the meaning defined above

Adjective

1950, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ape

Noun

Middle English, from Old English apa; akin to Old High German affo ape

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ape

Time Traveler for ape

Time Traveler

The first known use of ape was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ape

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ape. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ape

ape

noun
How to pronounce ape (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a type of animal (such as a chimpanzee or gorilla) that is closely related to monkeys and humans and that is covered in hair and has no tail or a very short tail
informal : a large and stupid or rude person

ape

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ape (Entry 2 of 2)

often disapproving : to copy or imitate (something or someone)

ape

noun
\ ˈāp How to pronounce ape (audio) \

Kids Definition of ape

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: any of a group of tailless animals (as gorillas or chimpanzees) that are primates most closely related to humans

Other Words from ape

apelike \ ˈāp-​ˌlīk \ adjective

ape

verb
aped; aping

Kids Definition of ape (Entry 2 of 2)

: to imitate (someone) awkwardly He apes the styles of his favorite actor.

ape

noun
\ ˈāp How to pronounce ape (audio) \

Medical Definition of ape

1 : monkey especially : one of the larger tailless or short-tailed Old World forms
2 : any of the large tailless semierect primates of Africa and southeastern Asia (as the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, or gibbon)

called also anthropoid, anthropoid ape

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ape

What made you want to look up ape? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!