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
Origin and Etymology of orangutan
Bazaar Malay (Malay-based pidgin), from Malay orang man + hutan forest
First Known Use: 1691
ORANGUTAN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of orangutan for English Language Learners
: a large ape that has very long arms and reddish-brown hair
ORANGUTAN Defined for Kids
Definition of orangutan for Students
: 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
History for orangutan
Orangutans live in dense tropical forests on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, part of Indonesia. Like most apes they look a bit like humans. In a language called Malay, spoken by many people of Indonesia as a second language, the apes were given a name formed from Malay orang, “man,” and hutan, “forest”—in other words, “man of the forest.” Europeans visiting the islands adopted the word orangutan, and it found its way into English.
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