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[aw-rang-oo-tan, oh-rang-, uh-rang-] /ɔˈræŋ ʊˌtæn, oʊˈræŋ-, əˈræŋ-/
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-] /ɔˈræŋ ʊˌtæŋ, oʊˈræŋ-, əˈræŋ-/ (Show IPA)
Also called orang.
Origin of orangutan
1690-1700; < New Latin, Dutch orang outang, apparently < pidgin or bazaar Malay: literally, forest man (Malay orang man, person + (h)utan forest Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for orangutan
  • In one case, an orangutan cringed and pulled away as its companion extracted a fish from a pond.
  • The orangutan finding, he says, suggests these fossils may indeed represent bipedal apes.
  • Present day orangutan and spider monkeys have the same angle as humans yet are extremely adept tree climbers.
  • Later investigation revealed that the door that connects the furnace room to the orangutan enclosure was open.
  • Climbing slowly and deliberately the way an orangutan does puts a lot of stress on limb bones, she says.
  • Too much vibration and an orangutan can be thrown off altogether.
  • The orangutan evidence adds a new twist to the debate of arboreal versus terrestrial bipedalism theories.
  • In addition, there was variability in preference rankings across time for each orangutan.
Word Origin and History for orangutan

1690s, from Dutch orang-outang (1631), from Malay orang utan, literally "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 used so in 17c. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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