ga·​la·​go | \ gə-ˈlā-(ˌ)gō How to pronounce galago (audio) , -ˈlä- How to pronounce galago (audio) \
plural galagos

Definition of galago

Illustration of galago

Illustration of galago

bush baby or galago

Keep scrolling for more

Did You Know?

There are six species of galagos, small nocturnal tree-dwelling primates found in forests of sub-Saharan Africa. Galagos are gray, brown, or reddish or yellowish brown animals with large eyes and ears, soft woolly fur, and a long tail. They are active at night, feeding on fruits, insects, and small birds. Galagos have elongated hind limbs that enable them to leap with great agility. Smaller forms, such as the bush baby, are particularly active and agile. Galagos range from 4½–6 in (11–16 cm) long, excluding the 7–8-in (18–20-cm) tail, to 12–15 in (30–37 cm), excluding the 16½–18½-in (42–47-cm) tail.

Examples of galago in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some species, like the South African galago, hang out in acacia trees on the savanna. National Geographic, "Bush babies," 19 Nov. 2019 Some species of galago can leap more than seven feet straight into the air. National Geographic, "Bush babies," 19 Nov. 2019 Here, a joyous catalog teems with life, both familiar like the American black bear and African lion and unfamiliar like the Amazon River dolphin and Senegal galago. San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of new children’s books," 25 Apr. 2018 His further research determined that nature's best continuous jumper is the galago, or bush baby, a nocturnal primate native to Africa. Erin Biba, Scientific American, "This Adorable Mammal Inspired a More Agile Robot," 1 May 2017 The galago's agility metric was twice that of any contemporary jumping robot. Erin Biba, Scientific American, "This Adorable Mammal Inspired a More Agile Robot," 1 May 2017 The results, published recently in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, describe the new bush baby, dubbed the Angolan dwarf galago, Galagoides kumbirensis, after the forest in which Svensson and others first heard its sounds. Elena Bersacola, National Geographic, "New Dwarf Primate Found, Is Giant Among Its Kin," 1 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'galago.' 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 galago

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for galago

borrowed from New Latin & French, perhaps borrowed from Wolof golo "the monkey Erythrocebus patas" + -g, class marker + -u, relative and genitive marker

Note: This etymology is entirely hypothetical, in that the wordʼs source language is unknown, and Wolof uses a different word for Galago senegalensis. The word galago is first recorded in a description of the animal by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire ("Mémoire sur les rapports naturels des Makis Lemur, L. et Description dʼune espèce nouvelle de Mammifère," Magasin encyclopédique, ou Journal des sciences, des lettres et des arts, tome premier [1796], pp. 20-50). Geoffroy had obtained a skull and apparently a picture (tableau) of the animal from the naturalist Michel Adanson, who had spent the years 1748-55 in Senegal. According to Geoffroy, Adanson reported that "the animal whose head he had brought back was known there under the name galago" (" … quʼon y connoissoit lʼanimal dont il avoit rapporté le tête sous le nom de galago"). In a preceding sentence Geoffroy refers to specimens that Adanson had found in Galam, and it is unclear if the "there" in the later sentence refers to Galam (at the time a Soninke kingdom in northeastern Senegal) or to Senegal in general.

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about galago

Statistics for galago

Cite this Entry

“Galago.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

More from Merriam-Webster on galago Encyclopedia article about galago

Comments on galago

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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