great ape


: any of several large primates including the orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee, and bonobo that are either placed in the same family (Hominidae) as humans or are grouped in a separate family (Pongidae)

Examples of great ape in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The great apes are critically endangered — with their population estimated at about 120,000 — and threatened by rapid deforestation mainly due to palm oil and other agriculture plantations, the organization said. TIME, 9 May 2024 Noa discovers that this would-be great ape is obsessed with a giant vault guarded by impenetrable steel doors. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 8 May 2024 That is an extremely high bar, though, and there are some pretty great apes: Teague's Noa grows on you because of his plight while Macon makes Raka a scene-stealing hoot with a kind soul. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 8 May 2024 Previous research has documented several species of great apes foraging for medicines in forests to heal themselves, but scientists hadn't yet seen an animal treat itself in this way. CBS News, 2 May 2024 The observed behavior can also provide evidence of commonalities between humans and other great apes. Annalisa Merelli, STAT, 2 May 2024 However, humans and our closest primate relatives — the great apes — said farewell to tails about 25 million years ago, when the group split from Old World monkeys. Mindy Weisberger, CNN, 23 Mar. 2024 Several dozen species of great apes inhabited Africa, Europe and Asia between around 2 million and 22 million years ago. Mithil Aggarwal, NBC News, 11 Jan. 2024 Orangutans would also pull on each other’s hair, which Laumer suggests is because their hair tends to be longer than the other great ape species. Jack Guy, CNN, 14 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'great ape.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1771, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of great ape was in 1771

Dictionary Entries Near great ape

Cite this Entry

“Great ape.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

great ape

: any of a family of apes that includes the gorilla, orangutan, and chimpanzee

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