orangutan

noun
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

Illustration of orangutan

Illustration of orangutan

Examples of orangutan in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Over a simmering pot of laksa (spicy noodle soup) Eusope sometimes closes her eyes and imagines frolicking in the flood waters after a monsoon in Penang, her pet orangutan, Madu, by her side. Justin Phillips, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco’s new Malaysian restaurant, Mahila, is a chef’s ode to childhood and mamak culture," 13 June 2019 Setchell points out how much social variability exists just within the great apes: gorilla groups are often based around just one male; male chimps form coalitions; and orangutans are solitary. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Gorillas that are great with kids are also luckier in love," 18 Oct. 2018 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about orangutan

Dictionary Entries near orangutan

orangey

orangish

Orang Laut

orangutan

Oranian

Oranjestad

orans

Statistics for orangutan

Last Updated

16 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orangutan

The first known use of orangutan was in 1691

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for orangutan

orangutan

noun

English Language Learners Definition of orangutan

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

orangutan

noun
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on orangutan

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

WORD OF THE DAY

behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!