- the largest of the anthropoid apes, Gorilla gorilla, terrestrial and vegetarian, of western equatorial Africa and the Kivu highlands, comprising the subspecies G. g. gorilla (western lowland gorilla), G. g. graueri (eastern lowland gorilla), and G. g. beringei (mountain gorilla): now rare.
- an ugly, brutish person.
- Slang. a hoodlum or thug, especially one who threatens or inflicts violence.
Origin of gorilla
Examples from the Web for gorilla
Sitting up there at that little spindly-legged organ, he looked enormous, bigger than life, like a gorilla at a harpsichord.The Stacks: Grateful Dead I Have Known
August 30, 2014
Then twelve guys come out and beat the gorilla over the head.The Stacks: Mr. Bad Taste and Trouble Himself: Robert Mitchum
July 19, 2014
Kerr was adamant that the gorilla tie was not a statement about evolution, but “about life.”Crucifixes, Gorillas, and Adult Diapers: My March Against Gay Marriage
June 20, 2014
In one mortuary, she observes the very hairy body of a dead fascist, “the nearest human thing I have ever seen to a gorilla.”Death Became Her: Molly Lefebure’s Wartime Years of Murder and Suicide
April 2, 2014
By around 2005, Rick Ross, Joell Ortiz, and Gorilla Zoe were some of the only ones left.Where Have All the Fat Rappers Gone? Or, How Hip-Hop Lost All the Weight.
August 28, 2013
Mouthing his rage, the gorilla flung the earth man to the ground.
"Don't waste no time on that cast-iron mug of his," says Gorilla.Shorty McCabe
His arms and chest were built on the same general plan as those of a gorilla.Islands of Space
John W Campbell
They're a lot more like a man than a man is like, for instance, a gorilla.The Colors of Space
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Chipmunk with the strength of a gorilla and the courage of a lion.The Rough Road
William John Locke
- the largest anthropoid ape, Gorilla gorilla, inhabiting the forests of central W Africa. It is stocky and massive, with a short muzzle and coarse dark hair
- informal a large, strong, and brutal-looking man
Word Origin and History for gorilla
1847, applied to the apes (Troglodytes gorills) by U.S. missionary Thomas Savage, from Greek gorillai, plural of name given to wild, hairy people in a Greek translation of Carthaginian navigator Hanno's account of his voyage along the N.W. coast of Africa, c.500 B.C.E. Allegedly an African word.
In its inmost recess was an island similar to that formerly described, which contained in like manner a lake with another island, inhabited by a rude description of people. The females were much more numerous than the males, and had rough skins: our interpreters called them Gorillae. We pursued but could take none of the males; they all escaped to the top of precipices, which they mounted with ease, and threw down stones; we took three of the females, but they made such violent struggles, biting and tearing their captors, that we killed them, and stripped off the skins, which we carried to Carthage: being out of provisions we could go no further. [Hanno, "Periplus"]
Of persons perceived as being gorilla-like, from 1884.