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

: crazy, wild
usually used in the phrase go ape
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

Example Sentences

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
Like the performance artist in The Square, who imitates an ape at a black-tie gala, Östlund carries on a tradition of satirical filmmaking whose amusements belie a foundation of violence, cowardice, and shame. Andrew Marzoni, The New Republic, 6 Oct. 2022 In the clip, the otter clambers next to the gibbon and starts smelling the ape's armpits and feet while repeatedly pawing the other animal. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 21 Sep. 2022 Fun furry fact: The ape in the film is portrayed by Terry Notary, who specializes in motion-capture performances and previously played Groot in Avengers: Endgame. Clark Collis, EW.com, 19 Aug. 2022 The Gordy scene did a great job of conveying the tremendous violence committed by the ape, without showing much. Dani Di Placido, Forbes, 16 Aug. 2022 Estimates range from four distinct types in North America—some more ape-like than others—to at least 11 in The Field Guide to Bigfoot. David Ferry, Outside Online, 5 July 2016 For the higher-ranking individuals in ape society, more food and reproductive success is usually the result, even though maintaining the highest rank requires a lot of effort and can result in threats, real and imagined. Vineer Bhansali, Forbes, 25 Aug. 2022 Tech enthusiasts watched as a collection of NFTs from Bored Ape Yacht Club featuring flashy cartoon ape depictions sold for top dollar. Khristopher J. Brooks, CBS News, 19 July 2022 The value of the 10,000 unique and colorful ape NFTs that Yuga Labs created lies not only with their rarity, the suit said, but also with their benefits. Bryan Pietsch, Washington Post, 28 June 2022
Verb
The newspaper had hired two teams of Marines — one from the Navy Yard, the other from the Marine Corps Barracks — to ape the action at the Polo Grounds in New York, where the New York Giants would be facing the New York Yankees. John Kelly, Washington Post, 15 Oct. 2022 Not every crook has a skilled mimic on call to ape the brushstrokes of Titian or Twombly. Julie Belcove, Robb Report, 28 Aug. 2022 The Ohio race was particularly insane: a half-dozen candidates reportedly spent at least sixty-six million dollars, and many of them tried to ape Trump’s style and seek his endorsement. The New Yorker, 4 May 2022 As Vivian, Olivia Valli wears replicas of the same outfits that Julia Roberts wore in the movie, but doesn’t ape her movements or mannerisms. Christopher Arnott, Hartford Courant, 28 Apr. 2022 Indeed, Isbell, a former Muscle Shoals resident now based in Nashville, is more of a rocker than the Americana strummers who ape him. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 12 Jan. 2022 He’s been replaced by a second Samurai who uses technology to ape the original’s powers, but nobody cares. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 11 Dec. 2021 Season 2 tried to ape the confusing timeline trickery of the first and mostly failed miserably. Erik Kain, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2021 But Mann and his cinematographer Dion Beebe consciously chose not to ape the look of film in Miami Vice. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, 4 Oct. 2021
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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 2 Jan. 2020 See More

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.

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 above

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 28 Nov. 2022.

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ape

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