chim·​pan·​zee | \ (ˌ)chim-ˌpan-ˈzē How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio) , -pən-ˈzē, -ˈpan-zē How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio) , sometimes (ˌ)shim- \

Definition of chimpanzee

: an anthropoid ape (Pan troglodytes) of equatorial Africa that is smaller and more arboreal than the gorilla — compare bonobo

Illustration of chimpanzee

Illustration of chimpanzee

Examples of chimpanzee in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For the past decade, the focus has been on chimpanzees. David Grimm, Science | AAAS, "Should aging lab monkeys be retired to sanctuaries?," 5 Dec. 2019 Moreover, its absence alone may increase the risk compared to chimpanzees, humanity’s closest relative. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Heart disease is the price of becoming human, UCSD study finds," 22 July 2019 There are color versions, for example, of the famous image of an interracial couple holding a chimpanzee and of two women walking outside at Los Angeles International Airport. Mark Feeney,, "Garry Winogrand, that master of black-and-white, was a master of color, too," 20 June 2019 Our closest relatives, the great apes—bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans—have exhibited theory of mind in some experiments. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "Great apes pass a false-belief test, hinting at a theory of mind," 9 Nov. 2019 The finding, reported in the current issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, challenges the prevailing notion that such sophisticated societies evolved relatively recently, after humans split from chimpanzees. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "Gorillas have developed humanlike social structure, controversial study suggests," 17 July 2019 Rae’s research has taken her all over the planet—from northeastern Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to study grizzly bears; rural Kenya and Tanzania to monitor lions; and the Congo basin on the trail of gorillas and chimpanzees. National Geographic, "Rae Wynn-Grant," 9 Nov. 2019 The name Bonobo is not, as some people have thought, named after the species of chimpanzee or the electronic music artist. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "North Star American Bistro in Shorewood will turn into Bonobo American Bistro in December," 18 Oct. 2019 The longtime former sanctuary for lions, Bengal tigers, chimpanzees and other exotic animals is in the Angeles National Forest near Sylmar. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: What a Bay Area baby rave tells us about the pressures of millennial parenting," 17 Oct. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of chimpanzee

1738, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chimpanzee

Kongo dialect chimpenzi

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about chimpanzee

Time Traveler for chimpanzee

Time Traveler

The first known use of chimpanzee was in 1738

See more words from the same year

Statistics for chimpanzee

Last Updated

11 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Chimpanzee.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for chimpanzee


How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio) How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of chimpanzee

: an intelligent animal that is a type of ape and that lives mostly in trees in Africa


chim·​pan·​zee | \ ˌchim-ˌpan-ˈzē How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio) , chim-ˈpan-zē \

Kids Definition of chimpanzee

: an African ape that lives mostly in trees and is smaller than the related gorilla


chim·​pan·​zee | \ ˌchim-ˌpan-ˈzē How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio) , ˌshim- How to pronounce chimpanzee (audio) , -pən-; chim-ˈpan-zē, shim- \

Medical Definition of chimpanzee

: an anthropoid ape of the genus Pan (P. troglodytes) found in equatorial Africa that is smaller and more arboreal than the gorilla — see bonobo

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on chimpanzee

Spanish Central: Translation of chimpanzee

Nglish: Translation of chimpanzee for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of chimpanzee for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about chimpanzee

Comments on chimpanzee

What made you want to look up chimpanzee? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


heavy with or as if with moisture

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!