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 But the animal kingdom’s many mothering methods are as different as orangutans and octopuses. Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, "Beautiful moments between animal mothers and their babies," 8 May 2020 Walking upright on two legs is considered a human trait that separates us from our ape relatives, like chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Ancient humans are having a moment. Here are the fascinating new things we've learned this week about our ancestors," 2 Apr. 2020 Having previously traveled to Borneo with the leading primatologist on orangutans and several countries in Africa, Weissman entertained her captive young audiences with tales of her trips, and photos and videos on her iPhone. Roxanne Washington, cleveland, "What’s it like to kiss a giraffe? Children’s author Rozanne Weissman shares her stories and fun photos of the wild," 22 Mar. 2020 Ride the train through the natural area to see rhinos, hippos, orangutans, and gorillas living without walls (water does the trick). Verna Gates, al, "How to spend 24 hours in Navarre Beach, Florida," 18 May 2020 Snapshot: Above, an orangutan in Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesia. Melina Delkic, New York Times, "Diamond Princess Evacuations, Xinjiang Document, ‘Love Island’: Your Tuesday Briefing," 17 Feb. 2020 Galdikas continues to observe and care for the Borneo orangutans, many orphaned because of logging and poaching. Los Angeles Times, "We’re worse off this Earth Day than any before. Watch these 7 TV shows to feel hopeful," 22 Apr. 2020 Jessica Hintz, a senior primate keeper, said the orangutans and other primates usually like looking through windows at guests and climbing to the top of their exhibit to get a birds-eye view of the crowds below. Brieanna J. Frank, azcentral, "Phoenix Zoo working to combat loneliness felt by animals during coronavirus closure," 4 Apr. 2020 Venomous snakes are predators of Borneo's orangutans, which are under threat from forest fires, habitat loss and hunting. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "This orangutan saw a man wading in snake-infested water and decided to offer a helping hand," 7 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for orangutan

Time Traveler

The first known use of orangutan was in 1691

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Last Updated

15 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Orangutan.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orangutan. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for orangutan


How to pronounce orangutan (audio) How to pronounce orangutan (audio)

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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