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

ape

adjective

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

copy, copycat, emulate, imitate, mime, mimic

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The zoological term primate refers to the order of mammals that includes humans, gorillas, apes, gibbons, and monkeys, among other species. Brett Clarkson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Zoo Miami's oldest primate, a gibbon called Prisilla, dies at almost 50," 5 June 2018 Barr's comparison between Jarrett and an ape played on an old and clearly racist trope. Callum Borchers, Washington Post, "How Roseanne Barr illuminates the media debate over Trump and ‘lies’," 29 May 2018 Some new world monkeys pound nuts open with rocks, and apes have been known to use sticks to pry insects or pebbles from the ground. National Geographic, "Leopard Plays With Prey’s Own Bones," 19 June 2018 Scientists studying bones unearthed from an ancient tomb in China’s Shaanxi Province have discovered the remains of a new but totally extinct species of ape. James Rogers, Fox News, "Mysterious remains of extinct ape discovered in ancient Chinese tomb," 22 June 2018 King Kong appears as an obstacle in the race, and rather than pattern him after more recent film versions of the giant ape, the team decided to emulate the 1933 stop-motion puppet from the classic RKO film, using the latest digital technology. Mekado Murphy, New York Times, "How They Made the Movie References Pop in ‘Ready Player One’," 27 Apr. 2018 If mythical creatures aren't your thing, the sprinkler also comes in five other styles: a dinosaur, pink and blue elephant, monster, and ape. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Every Summer BBQ Needs This 7-Foot-Tall Unicorn Sprinkler," 15 Mar. 2018 What Gimlin's camera sees is a strange, large, ape-like figure limbering on its hind legs across a clearing. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Science Meets Legend: The Story of Our Search for Bigfoot," 8 Oct. 2018 While the adults primarily walked on two feet like humans do today, 3.3 million years ago children exhibited some ape-like qualities that allowed them to venture up trees. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "Ape-like toddlers climbed trees 3.3 million years ago, fossil suggests," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Gillespie, who went on to ape some of Stewart’s hard-edge messaging, lost by a landslide to Democrat Ralph Northam in November. Laura Vozzella, Washington Post, "‘My opponent likes to praise and encourage white supremacists,’ Kaine tells crowd.," 17 June 2018 And Mr Ortega is aping the repression of the Somozas. The Economist, "Daniel Ortega is causing a bloodbath in Nicaragua," 12 July 2018 Lumberjacks and the hipster bartenders who ape their style have long favored Pendleton’s flannel overshirts. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "When It’s Super-Hot, This is Your Workwear Solution," 21 June 2018 Many of its propaganda tools merely aped the sorts of chauvinist and ethno-nationalist sentiment that Mr Trump and other right-wing politicians have long used to charge up their base. The Economist, "The Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki," 5 July 2018 Facebook’s tendency to ape competing products can be a major threat to smaller companies; Snapchat’s recent troubles have been attributed in part to Facebook copying many of its features. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Tinder's Parent Company Is Buying an Anti-Tinder Dating App," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 And the shape of the big toe stayed decidedly more ape-like until much later in our lineage, too. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The road to bipedalism wasn’t straight and narrow," 15 Aug. 2018 Orangutan If there was ever a time to compare this activity to The Truman Show, watching our seemingly self-aware ape friend at the San Diego Zoo would be it. The Editors, Outside Online, "The Definitive Ranking of the Best Animal Livestreams," 14 June 2018 Here’s just one component — research shows that the perception of black people as subhuman and ape-like directly informs the public’s view of whether police brutality against a black suspect is deserved. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: Can Starbucks Change America?," 31 May 2018 The park consulted with the Center for Great Apes, a non-profit great-ape sanctuary in Central Florida, to move Mei for surgery. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "Monkey Jungle has reopened. Here is what has happened since the animal-abuse allegations.," 12 July 2018 Jungers holds open the possibility that the Shangchen toolmaker was a species of Australopithecus, a group of more ape-like hominins to which the iconic fossil Lucy belongs. Colin Barras, Scientific American, "Tools from China are Oldest Hint of Human Lineage Outside Africa," 11 July 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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Learn More about ape

Dictionary Entries near ape

Apayao

APB

APC

ape

apeak

ape-ape

APEC

Statistics for ape

Last Updated

15 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ape

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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