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

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Other Words from ape

Noun

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

Verb

aper noun

Synonyms for ape

Synonyms: Verb

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The fossils are approximately 11.6 million years old and came from at least four individual apes, including one partial skeleton. Andrea Michelson, Smithsonian, "New Ancient Ape Species Rewrites the Story of Bipedalism," 6 Nov. 2019 When the parents are killed, the infant is adopted by a mother ape and raised in the wild. Laura Demarco, cleveland, "Cleveland author John C. Bruening brings vintage pulp fiction to life — on the page and in a talk this week," 6 Oct. 2019 There was indeed a time when this belief was fashionable and known as the killer ape theory. Rajni Bakshi, Quartz India, "If we are naturally violent, why do armies spend so much on training to kill?," 1 Oct. 2019 Storytelling transformed our species from intelligent ape to demigod. Ferris Jabr, Harper's magazine, "The Story of Storytelling," 10 Mar. 2019 About 3 million to 4 million years ago, a few million years after our own lineage split from other apes, a second mutation activated the once non-functional code. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "State of Science: Finding Human Ancestors in New Places," 15 Jan. 2019 References to African Americans as apes and monkeys have long been invoked to dehumanize them and justify their treatment as second-class citizens. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Republican Ron DeSantis says electing black opponent Andrew Gillum would “monkey this up”," 29 Aug. 2018 Comparing black people to apes and monkeys is one of the favorite weapons in the racist’s arsenal, going all the way back to slave-trading. Karla Peterson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Why Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee's slurs were shameful, but not equal," 1 June 2018 In the past, scientists have tried to tease out an answer mostly by analyzing correlations, like how brain size relates to the size of social groups in living apes and our fossil ancestors. Washington Post, "Study offers new look at why our brains evolved to be so big," 23 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Brexit debate illustrates how U.K. politics continues to ape the partisan nature of U.S. politics and the aggressive sloganeering of President Donald Trump, according to Simon Usherwood, a politics professor at the University of Surrey. Patrick Smith, NBC News, "Boris Johnson presses U.K. elections as Brexit endgame nears," 2 Oct. 2019 Democratic politicians still believe Mr Sanders’s 2016 insurgency showed the party had moved in a big way to the left—hence the alacrity with which many of his rivals have aped his free-college-style proposals. The Economist, "Bernie Sanders’s permanent revolution," 15 Aug. 2019 While there is no doubt that Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund needs a revamp, aping Singapore should be off limits. Washington Post, "One Old Rivalry Where Hong Kong Can Beat Singapore," 27 Feb. 2019 Xenophon reported the famous Athenian philosopher Socrates wearing only a single, filthy, thin cloak, aping Spartan fashion. Myke Cole, The New Republic, "The Sparta Fetish Is a Cultural Cancer," 1 Aug. 2019 The Clinic unfortunately diluted the impact of Pelli’s buildings by welcoming a pair of hotels – the InterContintental and the InterContintental Suites Hotel – which ape the look of Pelli’s styles in a way that dilutes its impact. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Remembering architect Cesar Pelli’s big contributions to Cleveland: An appreciation - Steven Litt," 28 July 2019 Spikes of creamy white astilbe mimicked Mona Lisa’s skin tone, and the long seed heads of the andromeda aped her fingers and added a tawny layer. Lindsey Taylor, WSJ, "If the ‘Mona Lisa’ Were Made of Flowers...," 7 Aug. 2018 Ostpunk was crude and derivative, but the Ostpunks were doing more than aping Western poses. Dominic Green, WSJ, "‘Burning Down the Haus’ Review: East German Punks," 20 Sep. 2018 Both parties signed the form and put their fingerprints on it, dipping their index fingers into bright purple ink, a gesture that aped one of the bureaucratic procedures of the Iraqi government. Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times, "The Case of the Purloined Poultry: How ISIS Prosecuted Petty Crime," 1 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In 2009, Begun reached out to Ward, an expert on ape pelvis anatomy, for help in analyzing the bone fragment. NBC News, "Ancient ape fossil yields surprising new insights about human evolution," 30 Sep. 2019 The ape man and Boy meet a chorus girl on her way to warn a sheik about Nazis. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 The mutation blocked production of a cellular signaling molecule used by other animals, including ape cousins. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Heart disease is the price of becoming human, UCSD study finds," 22 July 2019 For the next few million years, the brains of early hominins did not grow much larger than those of our ape ancestors and cousins. Quanta Magazine, "How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains," 10 Nov. 2015 Bigfoot, described as an evolutionary link between humans and our ape ancestors, is a staple of indigenous American folklore who has miraculously survived into modernity. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The FBI has released 22 pages of its investigation into Bigfoot," 9 June 2019 Why are characters always going in circles, whether physical (jogging astronaut) or metaphorical (repetitious ape routines)? Peter Opaskar, Ars Technica, "2001 in 70mm: Pod bay doors look better than ever, still won’t open," 21 July 2018 In these tales, the animals are sometimes more human-like and, other times, more ape-like. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Science Meets Legend: The Story of Our Search for Bigfoot," 8 Oct. 2018 In the fourth toe, the metatarsal head was domed just like a modern human’s, but other aspects of the shape of the bone looked more ape-like. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The road to bipedalism wasn’t straight and narrow," 15 Aug. 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for ape

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ape

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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ape

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ape

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ape

Spanish Central: Translation of ape

Nglish: Translation of ape for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ape for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about ape

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