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ape

[eyp]
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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.
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verb (used with object), aped, ap·ing.
  1. to imitate; mimic: to ape another's style of writing.
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Idioms
  1. go ape, Slang. to become violently emotional: When she threatened to leave him, he went ape.
  2. go ape over, Slang. to be extremely enthusiastic about: They go ape over old rock music.
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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 formsape·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aped

Historical Examples

  • Her backwoods twang sharpened as she aped some contemporary witch.

    Vigorish

    Gordon Randall Garrett

  • Again, it was Sadie who was first to retort, which she did with a manner that aped his own insolence.

    Making People Happy

    Thompson Buchanan

  • He was sorry for the poor little maid who had aped the ways of the grown-up.

  • He was Italian to the core, for all that he aped the English style and manner.

  • Yes; and found it the biggest humbug that ever aped Gods grass.

    Cradock Nowell, Vol. 1 (of 3)

    Richard Doddridge Blackmore


British Dictionary definitions for aped

ape

noun
  1. any of various primates, esp those of the family Pongidae, in which the tail is very short or absentSee 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
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verb
  1. (tr) to imitate
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Derived Formsapelike, 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

Word Origin and History for aped

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.

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ape

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper