[ eyp ]
See synonyms for: apeapedapesaping on Thesaurus.com

  1. Anthropology, Zoology. any member of the superfamily Hominoidea, the two extant branches of which are the lesser apes (gibbons) and the great apes (humans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans).: See also catarrhine.

  2. (loosely) any primate except humans.

  1. an imitator; mimic.

  2. Informal. a big, ugly, clumsy person.

  3. Disparaging and Offensive. (used as a slur against a member of a racial or ethnic minority group, especially a Black person.)

verb (used with object),aped, ap·ing.
  1. to imitate; mimic: to ape another's style of writing.

  1. Slang. (usually in the phrase go ape)

    • violently emotional: When she threatened to leave him, he went ape.

    • extremely enthusiastic (often followed by over or for): They go ape over old rock music.We were all ape for the new movie trailer.

Origin of ape

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English apa; cognate with Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Old High German affo (German Affe ); further origin uncertain

usage note For ape

Other words from ape

  • ape·like, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ape in a sentence

  • Anatomically we find that we must place man with the apelike mammals, because of these numerous points of structural likeness.

    A Civic Biology | George William Hunter
  • A long apelike arm came out and caught me by the coat lapels.

    Highways in Hiding | George Oliver Smith
  • The sinister bead eyes, with brown splotches in their whites, were set wide apart and gleamed apelike under his scant brows.

    The Clansman | Thomas Dixon
  • He found the apelike bodyguard stretched out on a bunk, a vacant smile on his face.

    Police Your Planet | Lester del Rey
  • The apelike Pascual, his face a study in curiosity, drew alongside.

    The Wolf Cub | Patrick Casey

British Dictionary definitions for ape


/ (eɪp) /

  1. any of various primates, esp those of the family Pongidae, in which the tail is very short or absent: See anthropoid ape See also great ape

  2. (not in technical use) any monkey

  1. an imitator; mimic

  2. US informal a coarse, clumsy, or rude person

  1. (tr) to imitate

Origin of ape

Old English apa; related to Old Saxon ape, Old Norse api, Old High German affo

Derived forms of ape

  • apelike, adjective

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