- 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 apelike
The apelike Pascual, his face a study in curiosity, drew alongside.
Suspicion growing in his glance, the apelike one continued to eye him.
He went expertly, swinging from car to car with apelike clumsiness—and surety.Gunman's Reckoning
Gazing into the darkness, she knew that her stare was apelike.Hilda Lessways
The big, apelike thug who was holding the shotgun had a chance to pull the trigger once more, but he wasn't aiming very well.That Sweet Little Old Lady
Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA Mark Phillips)
- (tr) to imitate
Word Origin and History for apelike
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.