orang·​u·​tan | \ ə-ˈraŋ-ə-ˌtaŋ How to pronounce orangutan (audio) , -ˈraŋ-gə-, -ˌtan How to pronounce orangutan (audio) \

Definition of orangutan

: a largely herbivorous arboreal anthropoid ape (Pongo pygmaeus) of Borneo and Sumatra that is about ²/₃ as large as the gorilla and has brown skin, long sparse reddish-brown hair, and very long arms

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Examples of orangutan in a Sentence

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Gibbons are long-armed, tree-dwelling primates that are much smaller than the great apes (such as gorillas, orangutans and humans). Amina Khan, latimes.com, "Extinct species of gibbon discovered in an unlikely place — the tomb of a Chinese noblewoman," 22 June 2018 The nests or tracks of animals, such as orangutans and turtles, can also be used to infer presence. Smithsonian, "When It Comes to Counting Wildlife, Drones Are More Accurate Than People," 27 Feb. 2018 His company’s rain forest, a humid and swampy expanse home to orangutans and clouded leopards, is twice the size of New York City and has one of the largest carbon stores of any such project in the world. Jon Emont, WSJ, "One Man’s Money-Draining Bet on Climate Change," 27 Dec. 2018 Infrared cameras can help: Dr. Wich had been using them for decades to study orangutans. New York Times, "How Do You Count Endangered Species? Look to the Stars," 5 Apr. 2018 Hannover’s other two orangutans moved last year to the Fort Worth Zoo in Texas. Janet Mcconnaughey, The Seattle Times, "German zoo sends its last orangutan to Louisiana," 10 Sep. 2018 Female orangutans rarely live past the age of 50, and in 2016, she was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest verified living Sumatran orangutan in the world. Casey Quackenbush, Time, "The World's Oldest Known Sumatran Orangutan Has Died at Age 62," 19 June 2018 The little orangutan is learning to climb, and the giant panda took a dip. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "A toddler orangutan learns to climb and a giant panda takes a pool dip," 1 May 2018 The region's orangutans live exclusively on Sumatra and Borneo. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "100,000 orangutans killed in last 16 years, making extinction 'highly likely'," 16 Feb. 2018

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

1691, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for orangutan

Bazaar Malay (Malay-based pidgin), from Malay orang man + hutan forest

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Statistics for orangutan

Last Updated

10 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for orangutan

The first known use of orangutan was in 1691

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English Language Learners Definition of orangutan

: a large ape that has very long arms and reddish-brown hair


orang·​utan | \ ə-ˈraŋ-ə-ˌtaŋ How to pronounce orangutan (audio) , -ˌtan\

Kids Definition of orangutan

: a large ape of Borneo and Sumatra that lives in trees, eats mostly fruit, leaves, and other plant matter, and has very long arms, long reddish brown hair, and a nearly hairless face

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More from Merriam-Webster on orangutan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with orangutan

Spanish Central: Translation of orangutan

Nglish: Translation of orangutan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about orangutan

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an enemy or opponent

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