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 perhaps the most infamous case, Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was fatally shot in 2016 to save the life of a toddler who crawled past a barrier and fell into the animal's enclosure. al.com, "Otter dies after he is fed by Tennessee park visitors," 3 June 2019 And the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the 2nd amendment. James Fallows, The Atlantic, "As Students 'March for Our Lives,' What Are the Feasible Aims for Gun Control?," 25 Mar. 2018 It is revealed that Luther's body was formed after Sir Hargreeves injected gorilla DNA after a botched mission also left him dead. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "13 Differences Between "The Umbrella Academy" Comics and TV Show," 8 Mar. 2019 Near Volcanoes National Park, the six luxe, treehouse-like villas at Bistate serves as an opulent base from which to embark on a gorilla safari. Christina Pérez, Vogue, "Here’s Where to Travel in 2019," 26 Dec. 2018 Monkey Jungle’s gorilla King and orangutan Mei, who eight former trainers at the park claim are among the animals abused by Monkey Jungle, in photos taken by former ape trainer Melanie Lustig in September. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "Monkey Jungle has reopened. Here is what has happened since the animal-abuse allegations.," 12 July 2018 For anyone who has watched international soccer in the past half-century or so, England’s presence in the final four makes for a jarring sight, like the guy in the gorilla suit winning the marathon. Jonathan Clegg, WSJ, "How England Rewired Its Soccer DNA," 10 July 2018 Everyone in the adult gorilla troop is adjusting well to the new arrival, even showing interest in meeting the baby and getting some one-on-one time with him. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "WATCH: 10-Week-Old Baby Gorilla Takes His First Steps, Makes Uncertainty Look Adorable," 10 July 2018 Wild gorillas typically live for 30 or 40 years, while those cared for by humans can live into their 50s, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Niraj Chokshi, New York Times, "Koko the Gorilla, Who Used Sign Language and Befriended Mr. Rogers, Dies at 46," 21 June 2018

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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Statistics for gorilla

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gorilla

The first known use of gorilla was in 1832

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Financial Definition of gorilla

What It Is

A gorilla is a company that controls most of the market for a product or service.

How It Works

For example, in the 1990s, Microsoft was a gorilla in the market for operating systems. Sure, there were  competitors, but they were very small, had tiny market shares, and avoided taking Microsoft on directly. Microsoft had billions to invest in marketing and innovation, and could easily undercut, out-distribute, and outsell these tiny competitors. As the saying goes, an 800-pound gorilla does whatever it wants.

Why It Matters

A gorilla's huge size means that competitors must carefully consider the gorilla's potential reactions to certain business decisions. Many gorillas have a shot at monopolizing the market. However, federal antitrust laws, most notably the Sherman Act, make collusive activity and monopolistic behavior illegal in the United States. There is, however, still an incentive to compete with a gorilla. After all, an undetected price cut (or increase in production) will attract customers who are buying from the gorilla and customers who are not buying the product at all. Price adjustments may be subtle, including better credit terms, faster delivery or related free services.

Gorillas are most effective when the demand for the gorilla's product is not very affected by price. This is why gorillas are more effective in the short term; over the long term, prices often become elastic as consumers find cheaper substitutes for the product.

Source: Investing Answers



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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Comments on gorilla

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


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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