• synonyms


[gib-uh nz]
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  1. Grin·ling [grin-ling] /ˈgrɪn lɪŋ/, 1648–1720, English woodcarver and sculptor, born in the Netherlands.
  2. Orlando,1583–1625, English composer.


[gib-uh n]
  1. any small, slender, long-armed arboreal anthropoid ape of the genus Hylobates, of the East Indies and southern Asia: all gibbon species are reduced in number and some are very rare.

Origin of gibbon

From French, dating back to 1760–70, name of uncertain origin used by Buffon
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gibbons


  1. Grinling. 1648–1721, English sculptor and woodcarver, noted for his delicate carvings of fruit, flowers, birds, etc
  2. Orlando. 1583–1625, English organist and composer, esp of anthems, motets, and madrigals


  1. any small agile arboreal anthropoid ape of the genus Hylobates, inhabiting forests in S Asia

Word Origin

C18: from French, probably from an Indian dialect word


  1. Edward. 1737–94, English historian; author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88), controversial in its historical criticism of Christianity
  2. Lewis Grassic (ˈɡræsɪk), real name James Leslie Mitchell . 1901–35, Scottish writer: best known for his trilogy of novels Scots Quair (1932–34)
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 gibbons



1770, from French gibbon (18c.), supposedly from a word in the French colonies of India but not found in any language there. Brought to Europe by Marquis Joseph-François Dupleix (1697-1763), French governor general in India 1742-54. The surname is Old French Giboin, from Frankish *Geba-win "gift-friend," or in some cases a diminutive of Gibb, itself a familiar form of Gilbert.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper