[ba-boon or, esp. British, buh-]


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 formsba·boon·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for baboon

monkey, chacma, mandrill

Examples from the Web for baboon

Contemporary Examples of baboon

Historical Examples of baboon

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

  • 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.

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 tailSee also hamadryas, gelada

Word Origin for baboon

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

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