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great ape

noun
1.
any of several apes of the family Pongidae, characterized by a relatively hairless face with protrusive lips and by hands with complex fingerprints and flat nails, including the gorilla, chimpanzee, and orangutan.
Origin
1945-1950
1945-50

ape

[eyp] /eɪp/
noun
1.
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.
2.
(loosely) any primate except humans.
3.
an imitator; mimic.
4.
Informal. a big, ugly, clumsy person.
verb (used with object), aped, aping.
5.
to imitate; mimic:
to ape another's style of writing.
Idioms
6.
go ape, Slang. to become violently emotional:
When she threatened to leave him, he went ape.
7.
go ape over, Slang. to be extremely enthusiastic about:
They go ape over old rock music.
Origin
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for great ape
  • The bonobo's life history is typical for a great ape.
  • Perhaps the complexities of great ape social relationships selected for large brains.
  • There are other members of the great ape family that don't use confusing words.
  • Orangutans are the only great ape that lives primarily in trees.
  • great ape species are threatened by similar issues, including deforestation, loss of habitat and poaching.
  • Chimps are the closest relative to the human species, both part of the great ape family.
  • There's no doubt that our minds allow us to do things that even our great ape relatives cannot.
  • Self-recognition in mirrors is restricted to the great ape-human clade.
  • Perhaps the change in chromosome number was the speciation event that separated us from our great ape cousins.
  • The finding means our understanding of the lives and behaviors of the great ape is based on artificially low population densities.
British Dictionary definitions for great ape

great ape

noun
1.
any of the larger anthropoid apes, such as the chimpanzee, orang-utan, or gorilla

ape

/eɪp/
noun
1.
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
2.
(not in technical use) any monkey
3.
an imitator; mimic
4.
(US, informal) a coarse, clumsy, or rude person
verb
5.
(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 great ape

ape

n.

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.

v.

"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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great ape in Science
great ape
  (grāt)   
See anthropoid ape.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for great ape

ape

adjective
  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
noun
  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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Related Abbreviations for great ape

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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great 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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