- 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.
- 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
Examples from the Web for ape
But a series of misunderstandings triggers an all-out war between man and ape, threatening the future of mankind.
Yup, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared President Obama to an ape.Fringe Factor: Convicted Killer, Registered Sex Offender Runs for California Governor
March 30, 2014
If only Charlton Heston had been there to shriek something about overthrowing our ape overlords.CPAC: Come for the Crazy, Stay for the Party
March 7, 2014
In his more-than-a-dozen books, he has thoughtfully mined the goings-on of the ape world for insights about the human one.What Can Animals Teach Us About Our Morality?
April 5, 2013
He self-consciously tries to ape the mannerisms of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.The Foodie Detective: The Pepe Carvalho Novels by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán
October 3, 2012
Why, what makes you stand twisting there like an eel or an ape, child?Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
It is our duty to resemble him as much as we can; that is to say, as much as an ape can resemble a man.Initiation into Philosophy
Charley confided to me afterwards that he did not take to him—he was too like an ape, he said.Wilfrid Cumbermede
At its foot the ape turned himself into the chapel of a field-god.
Then the ape said: “I will not leave until you have obtained one for me.”
- (tr) to imitate
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.