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 King Kong, the massive gorilla who became entranced by a blonde, White woman, is widely seen as a projection of White fears of Black men's sexuality. John Blake, CNN, "Black writers and filmmakers are bringing new scares to the horror genre," 4 Oct. 2020 Whether a gorilla is cute really depends on your point of view, but the footage from the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center, a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, might win you over. Sara Aridi, New York Times, "The Best Live Animal Feeds From Around the World," 3 Oct. 2020 Its mother Kala, can be seen holding the newborn gorilla, with its father just a few feet away. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Newborn gorilla spotted cuddling with mom in viral photos," 23 Sep. 2020 The baby gorilla, who also shares the enclosure with her grandmother, JoRayK, has not yet been named. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Baby gorilla and two Amur leopard cubs make their debuts at Utah’s Hogle Zoo," 27 Aug. 2020 Tumani's baby will be the first gorilla born at Audubon Zoo in 24 years. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "Zoo creates baby shower registry for endangered pregnant gorilla," 20 Aug. 2020 Ivan the 400-pound silverback gorilla is the focus of this live action and CGI hybrid film. Katey Clifford, al, "How to watch ‘The One and Only Ivan’ on Disney+," 14 Aug. 2020 The baby gorilla was the first offspring for 13-year-old Tumani. Jordan Whittington, NOLA.com, "Baby gorilla born at Audubon Zoo last week has died; 'we are heartbroken'," 10 Sep. 2020 The six-day-old baby gorilla born to 13-year-old Tumani at Audubon Zoo died on Thursday. Alaa Elassar, CNN, "A critically endangered baby gorilla died six days after being born at Audubon Zoo," 10 Sep. 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

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Gorilla.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gorilla. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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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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