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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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

Cornelius, Zira and Milo, apes from the future, escape to 1970s Los Angeles and pose a threat. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 Psychologist Philip Goff and colleagues have shown that people associate images of apes more readily with black faces than with white faces. K.n.c., The Economist, "Societies are tearing apart, but they can be brought together," 14 Aug. 2019 Suffice to say that the naked ape, in a desperately calm maneuver, with a finger-grab on sandstone, retrieved the favorite old canyon hat. Christopher Ketcham, Harper's magazine, "Ramblin’ Man," 24 June 2019 Krupenye says his team's results support the notion that the preference to avoid individuals who mistreat others is one of the things that set humans apart from other apes. Jason G. Goldman, Scientific American, "Bonobos Might Not Be So Laid-Back after All," 4 Jan. 2018 Dart noticed right away that this was the fossil of an extinct ape, not a monkey. Quanta Magazine, "How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains," 10 Nov. 2015 After the credits rolled, the team opened the doors between the rooms then observed the behavior of the apes. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Chimps Bond Over Movies, Just Like Us," 18 July 2019 Gil Greengross, an anthropologist then at the University of New Mexico, noted that humor and laughter occur in every society, as well as in apes and even rats. Giovanni Sabato, Scientific American, "What’s So Funny? The Science of Why We Laugh," 26 June 2019 Conservationists are especially concerned about the large-scale commercial hunting of slower-breeding species like apes and monkeys. Jani Actman, National Geographic, "What is bushmeat?," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 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

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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Dictionary Entries near ape

Apayao

APB

APC

ape

apeak

ape-ape

APEC

Statistics for ape

Last Updated

18 Sep 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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