ape

1 of 3

noun

1
a
: 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
2
a
: mimic
b
: a large uncouth person
apelike adjective

ape

2 of 3

verb

aped; aping

transitive verb

: to copy closely but often clumsily and ineptly
aper noun

ape

3 of 3

adjective

1
: wildly excited or enthusiastic
Our family of ten was ape for apricots, passionate about peaches …Jerry Nelson
usually used in the phrase go ape
Kids go ape pointing out the location of the tiny otter on the big stage.Dewayne Bevil
The odds of the Phillies winning a World Series increased exponentially and the betting world went ape.Tommy Gartrell
2
: showing extreme or uncontrolled anger, aggression, or agitation
usually used in the phrase go ape
They knew George Steinbrenner would go ape if the Yankees lost the highest-stakes game ever against the Red Sox.Randy Miller
Also, don't scream at the top of your lungs or generally go ape. Screaming is for emergencies.Jody Stallings
Winged things have spooked me ever since a duck went ape and attacked me at age 4 at the Bronx Zoo.Alfred Lubrano
Choose the Right Synonym for ape

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, unoriginal, 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
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
In Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes, apes climb to new heights. Jack Smart, Peoplemag, 1 July 2024 In this distant future, apes have taken over but live in isolated colonies, while humans have regressed into feral creatures. Ew Staff, EW.com, 7 June 2024
Verb
And unlike the compact classics Sachs is aping, his interweaving sprawl forces his tales into a sometimes awkward interdependency. Robert Rubsam, Washington Post, 24 June 2024 The social-sharing ecosystem made for websites that would, for better or worse, simply ape each other’s most successful content, hoping to replicate a viral moment. Brian Resnick, Vox, 3 June 2024
Adjective
The same is true of their treatment of Number One, Luther, who is gravely harmed on a doomed solo mission and injected with a life-saving experimental serum that transforms his body into that of an ape-human hybrid. Crispin Long, The New Yorker, 12 July 2022 Each faces resistance from his own side, since anti-ape prejudice is still part of the formerly dominant species’ worldview. New York Times, 13 May 2021 See all Example Sentences for ape 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ape.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

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 at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near ape

Cite this Entry

“Ape.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ape. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

ape

1 of 2 noun
1
a
: monkey entry 1 sense 1
especially : one of the larger tailless or short-tailed forms
b
: any of two families of large primates including the chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, and gibbon
2
3
: a large uncouth person

ape

2 of 2 verb
aped; aping
: to copy closely but often clumsily
aper noun

Medical Definition

ape

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

called also anthropoid, anthropoid ape

2
: monkey
especially : one of the larger tailless or short-tailed Old World forms
not used technically

More from Merriam-Webster on ape

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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