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[ba-boon or, esp. British, buh-] /bæˈbun or, esp. British, bə-/
any of various large, terrestrial monkeys of the genus Papio and related genera, of Africa and Arabia, having a doglike muzzle, large cheek pouches, and a short tail.
a coarse, ridiculous, or brutish person, especially one of low intelligence.
Origin of baboon
1275-1325; Middle English baboyne, babewyn grotesque figure, gargoyle, late Middle English: baboon (compare Anglo-Latin babevynus) < Middle French babouin, akin to babine pendulous lip, derivative of an expressive base *bab- grimace
Related forms
baboonish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for baboon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He displays much skill and a great degree of caution in playing these pranks upon the baboon when at close170 range.

    Gorillas & Chimpanzees R. L. Garner
  • Occasionally a man would slip, or be pulled over in the grip of a baboon.

    Allan's Wife H. Rider Haggard
  • If some species of baboon had taken to the hunting-life, there might have been very interesting results.

  • "Go to the devil, and take your baboon with you," cursed the new arrival.

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
  • After all, it was the baboon that suffered most, if his yells were any index to his feelings.

  • He showed his great teeth and grinned and growled, as a baboon in a rage is apt to do.

    Heads and Tales Various
  • But loping easily along as his ancestors might have pursued a baboon or antelope, Shir K'han overtook the screaming human.

    Deepfreeze Robert Donald Locke
British Dictionary definitions for baboon


any of several medium-sized omnivorous Old World monkeys of the genus Papio (or Chaeropithecus) and related genera, inhabiting open rocky ground or wooded regions of Africa. They have an elongated muzzle, large teeth, and a fairly long tail See also hamadryas, gelada
Word Origin
C14 babewyn gargoyle, later, baboon, from Old French babouin, from baboue grimace; related to Old French babine a thick lip
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
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Word Origin and History for baboon

type of ape, c.1400, babewyn, earlier "a grotesque figure used in architecture or decoration" (early 14c.), from French babouin "baboon," from Old French baboin "ape," earlier "simpleton, dimwit, fool" (13c.), also "gaping figure (such as a gargoyle)," so perhaps from Old French baboue "grimacing;" or perhaps it is imitative of the ape's babbling speech-like cries. Also cf. -oon. German Pavian "baboon" is from Dutch baviaan, from Middle Dutch baubijn, a borrowing of the Old French word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for baboon



An uncouth or stupid person: Outta my way, you baboon!

big ape

noun phrase

A large, dangerous man •Nearly always used affectionately of a man by a woman (1940s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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