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

And if the English gorilla does throw the rest of the UK out of the ring, its smaller siblings might decide not to climb back in. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "Boris Johnson could be the last prime minister of the United Kingdom," 3 Aug. 2019 Or this one, which someone thinks resembles the late gorilla Harambe. Lucas Kwan Peterson, latimes.com, "The official spicy snack power rankings," 2 July 2019 In February, a federal judge ruled that Ndume should be returned to Cincinnati in accordance with a 2015 agreement between the foundation and the Ohio zoo that stipulated the gorilla be transferred after Koko’s death. Ashley Mcbride, SFChronicle.com, "Ndume, gorilla companion to Koko, returns to Cincinnati Zoo," 14 June 2019 Zoo animals often must be killed to protect the person who’s entered their space, like Harambe, the 17-year old gorilla who was shot in 2015 at the Cincinnati zoo when a young boy fell in his enclosure. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Why people risk their lives for the ultimate animal selfie," 12 Mar. 2019 When he had been handed the job two days ago, from the mysterious man with the DFL fund-raising memo in his pocket (Dokey had lifted it, just for the practice), there was no mention that the mark might have a 250-pound gorilla with him. Larry Millett, Twin Cities, "From the archives: Murder-on-a-stick: A Pioneer Press serial mystery novel (Chapter 1)," 21 Aug. 2019 Most gorillas in zoos now are born in captivity, but Trudy was born in the wild. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, "The oldest living western lowland gorilla in a zoo has died at 63," 26 July 2019 Rwanda's tourism is centered around its astonishing wildlife, particularly its population of primates, whether chimps in Nyungwe Forest or gorillas in Volcanoes National Park. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Best Places to Visit in September," 25 July 2019 Even more surprising, each ape interacted with some 39 other gorillas to whom they weren’t related. Virginia Morell, Science | AAAS, "Gorillas have developed humanlike social structure, controversial study suggests," 17 July 2019

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

17 Sep 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).


readily or continually undergoing change

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