bo·​no·​bo | \ bə-ˈnō-bō How to pronounce bonobo (audio) ; ˈbä-nə-bō How to pronounce bonobo (audio) , -nō- \
plural bonobos

Definition of bonobo

: a rare anthropoid ape (Pan paniscus) that has a more slender build and longer limbs than the related common chimpanzee (P. troglodytes) and that inhabits a small geographic region in equatorial Africa south of the Congo River

called also pygmy chimpanzee

Examples of bonobo in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And then there was Viktor, the young bonobo who couldn’t forget Shields, either. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Mar. 2022 As of January, Vernon was the oldest mammal at the Cincinnati Zoo and the oldest male bonobo known to be in human care. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 15 Dec. 2021 Officials announced Tuesday that Vernon, a 50-year-old bonobo and longtime resident of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, has died. Emily Deletter, The Enquirer, 15 Dec. 2021 For example, the zoo will be vaccinating a 5-year-old up to a 50 year old bonobo. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 Nov. 2021 Kanzi, a 40-year-old bonobo housed at the Ape Initiative, a nonprofit research facility in Des Moines, Iowa, is said to have extraordinary communication skills. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 30 June 2021 Four more animals — one bonobo and three gorillas — got their first shot this month and will get a second one in April. Fox News, 19 Mar. 2021 Seventeen months later, the young bonobo had acquired a vocabulary of 50 words. Kevin Miyazaki, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Aug. 2020 Our closest relatives, the great apes—bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans—have exhibited theory of mind in some experiments. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, 9 Nov. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bonobo.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of bonobo

1955, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bonobo

origin unknown

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bonorum possessio

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Cite this Entry

“Bonobo.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for bonobo


bo·​no·​bo | \ bə-ˈnō-bō; ˈbä-nə-bō How to pronounce bonobo (audio) , -nō- How to pronounce bonobo (audio) \

Medical Definition of bonobo

: a rare anthropoid ape of the genus Pan (P. paniscus) that has a more slender build and longer limbs than the related common chimpanzee (P. troglodytes)

called also pygmy chimpanzee

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