Orang outang


[aw-rang-oo-tan, oh-rang-, uh-rang-]
a large, long-armed anthropoid ape, Pongo pygmaeus, of arboreal habits, inhabiting Borneo and Sumatra: an endangered species.
Also, orang-utan, orangutang, orang-outang [aw-rang-oo-tang, oh-rang-, uh-rang-] .
Also called orang.

1690–1700; < Neo-Latin, Dutch orang outang, apparently < pidgin or bazaar Malay: literally, forest man (Malay orang man, person + (h)utan forest

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To orang outang
Word Origin & History

1699, from Du. orang-outang, from Malay orang utan, lit. "man of the woods," from orang "man" + utan, hutan "forest, wild." It is possible that the word originally was used by town-dwellers on Java to describe savage forest tribes of the Sunda Islands and that Europeans misunderstood it to mean the ape.
The name is not now applied in Malay to the animal, but there is evidence that it was so in 17c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature