go·​ril·​la | \ gə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce gorilla (audio) \

Definition of gorilla

1 : a very large typically black-colored anthropoid ape (Gorilla gorilla) of equatorial Africa that has a stocky body with broad shoulders and long arms and is less erect and has smaller ears than the chimpanzee
2a : an ugly or brutal man
b : thug, goon

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Examples of gorilla in a Sentence

She hired some gorilla as her bodyguard. the loan shark sent a couple of gorillas to “convince” him to pay up
Recent Examples on the Web In the mid-1960s, an infant gorilla named Sylvia came to live at the Baltimore Zoo. Reginald Dwayne Betts Kiese Makeba Laymon Carina Del Valle Schorske Dessa Irina Aleksander Sam Dolnick Mark Binelli Maggie Jones Rob Hoerburger Jamie Lauren Keiles Devin Gordon Jazmine Hughes Jenna Wortham Jade Chang Taffy Brodesser-akner Kaitlyn Greenidge Rowan Ricardo Phillips Michael Paterniti Wesley Morris Ismail Muhammad Anthony Giardina, New York Times, "Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.," 23 Dec. 2020 The 800-pound, albeit virtual, gorilla in every corporate boardroom is just how fast the U.S. economy will recover and reopen in 2021. Fortune, "Only 1 in 4 millennials say they’ll get the COVID vaccine right away," 13 Dec. 2020 Now Cher is determined to save Bua Noi, the last remaining gorilla in Thailand, who has spent the past 30 years behind bars at a Bangkok shopping mall. Washington Post, "Cher saved the world’s loneliest elephant. Can she free Thailand’s last gorilla?," 10 Dec. 2020 That's when the 46-year-old woman came face to face with Malabo, a 400-lbs, 29-year-old male gorilla, who, unbeknownst to the employee, had accessed the area. Daniella Genovese, Fox News, "Madrid zookeeper seriously injured after gorilla attack," 28 Sep. 2020 Praline was the last gorilla born at Audubon Zoo, in 1996. Emily Woodruff, NOLA.com, "Baby gorilla's birth at Audubon Zoo was a bright spot; its death shows species' fragility," 10 Sep. 2020 In Florida, 22 animals had been tested as of early this month, including three wild dolphins, two civets, two clouded leopards, a gorilla, an orangutan, an alpaca and a bush baby, state officials said. Jonel Aleccia, CNN, "Covid-19 tests given to cats, dogs, dolphins and more animal species by US scientists," 30 Oct. 2020 The father is Okpara, a 27-year-old silverback gorilla who came to Audubon in 2017 from Franklin Park Zoo. Carlie Wells, NOLA.com, "Baby gorilla born at Audubon Zoo in New Orleans: See adorable video," 8 Sep. 2020 The big reveal: The two siblings missed the person in a gorilla suit walking through the crowd. Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Atlantic, "Can Children Be Persuaded to Love a Parent They Hate?," 24 Nov. 2020

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

1832, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gorilla

New Latin, from Greek Gorillai, plural, a tribe of hairy women mentioned in an account of a voyage around Africa

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Time Traveler for gorilla

Time Traveler

The first known use of gorilla was in 1832

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Statistics for gorilla

Last Updated

12 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gorilla.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gorilla. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for gorilla


How to pronounce gorilla (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gorilla

: a type of very large ape that has black fur and that comes from Africa
informal : a large, strong, and usually ugly or frightening man


go·​ril·​la | \ gə-ˈri-lə How to pronounce gorilla (audio) \

Kids Definition of gorilla

: a very large ape of the forests of central Africa that lives mostly on the ground

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