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[eyp] /eɪp/
any of a group of anthropoid primates characterized by long arms, a broad chest, and the absence of a tail, comprising the family Pongidae (great ape) which includes the chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan, and the family Hylobatidae (lesser ape) which includes the gibbon and siamang.
(loosely) any primate except humans.
an imitator; mimic.
Informal. a big, ugly, clumsy person.
verb (used with object), aped, aping.
to imitate; mimic:
to ape another's style of writing.
go ape, Slang. to become violently emotional:
When she threatened to leave him, he went ape.
go ape over, Slang. to be extremely enthusiastic about:
They go ape over old rock music.
Origin of ape
before 900; Middle English; Old English apa; cognate with Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Old High German affo (German Affe)
Related forms
apelike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for ape


any of various primates, esp those of the family Pongidae, in which the tail is very short or absent See anthropoid ape See also great ape
(not in technical use) any monkey
an imitator; mimic
(US, informal) a coarse, clumsy, or rude person
(transitive) to imitate
Derived Forms
apelike, adjective
Word Origin
Old English apa; related to Old Saxon ape, Old Norse api, Old High German affo
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ape

Old English apa "ape, monkey," from Proto-Germanic *apan (cf. Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Dutch aap, German affe), perhaps borrowed in Proto-Germanic from Celtic (cf. Old Irish apa) or Slavic (cf. Old Bohemian op, Slovak opitza), perhaps ultimately from a non-Indo-European language.

Apes were noted in medieval times for mimicry of human action, hence, perhaps, the other figurative use of the word, to mean "a fool." To go ape (in emphatic form, go apeshit) "go crazy" is 1955, U.S. slang. To lead apes in hell (1570s) was the fancied fate of one who died an old maid.


"to imitate," 1630s, but the notion is implied earlier, e.g. to play the ape (1570s), Middle English apeshipe "ape-like behavior, simulation" (mid-15c.); and the noun sense of "one who mimics" may date from early 13c. Related: Aped; aping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for ape



  1. (also ape-shit) Stupid and destructive; irrational; berserk: You acted like you were ape, pounding the wall
  2. (also ape-shit) Very enthusiastic; highly excited; bananas: He's ape about my new car


  1. A black person
  2. The best or greatest; the ultimate: Her paintings are truly ape (Beat talk & rock and roll)
  3. An especially strong and pugnacious hoodlum; a strong-arm man or muscle man; goon, gorilla

Related Terms

go ape, house ape, rug rat

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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ape in Technology
audio, compression
A lossless audio compression algorithm from MonkeysAudio.

A graphics package from the Ohio Supercomputer Centre.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for ape


acute pulmonary edema
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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ape in the Bible

an animal of the monkey tribe (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chr. 9:21). It was brought from India by the fleets of Solomon and Hiram, and was called by the Hebrews _koph_, and by the Greeks _kepos_, both words being just the Indian Tamil name of the monkey, kapi, i.e., swift, nimble, active. No species of ape has ever been found in Palestine or the adjacent regions.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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