orangutan

[aw-rang-oo-tan, oh-rang-, uh-rang-]
Also o·rang-u·tan, o·rang·u·tang, o·rang-ou·tang [aw-rang-oo-tang, oh-rang-, uh-rang-] /ɔˈræŋ ʊˌtæŋ, oʊˈræŋ-, əˈræŋ-/.

Origin of orangutan

1690–1700; < New Latin, Dutch orang outang, apparently < pidgin or bazaar Malay: literally, forest man (Malay orang man, person + (h)utan forest
Also called orang.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Word Origin and History for orangutang

orangutan

n.

1690s, from Dutch orang-outang (1631), from Malay orang utan, literally "man of the woods," from orang "man" + utan, hutan "forest, wild." It is possible that the word originally was used by town-dwellers on Java to describe savage forest tribes of the Sunda Islands and that Europeans misunderstood it to mean the ape. The name is not now applied in Malay to the animal, but there is evidence that it was used so in 17c. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper