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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for baboon
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Go to the devil, and take your baboon with you," cursed the new arrival.

    A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai
  • She was nourished on baboon milk, and the baboon nature is in her veins.

    Allan's Wife H. Rider Haggard
  • Occasionally a man would slip, or be pulled over in the grip of a baboon.

    Allan's Wife H. Rider Haggard
  • The mandrills are another species of baboon who inhabit this region.

    In the Wilds of Africa W.H.G. Kingston
  • When the baboon sat down on his hams he was about as tall as the boy when he walked.

  • Because he came from South Africa and looked like a baboon, we called him "baboon."

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

    Heads and Tales Various
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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