[pith-i-kan-thruh-puh s, -kuh n-throh-puh s]

Origin of Pithecanthropus

< New Latin (1891) < Greek píthēk(os) ape + ánthrōpos man
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pithecanthropus

Historical Examples of pithecanthropus

  • Nevertheless, even in Pithecanthropus, the brute is passing into the man.

  • The famous Eppelsheim femur is straighter than, and as slender as that of Pithecanthropus.

    Prehistoric Man

    W. L. H. Duckworth

  • The remains of Pithecanthropus were recovered from an alluvial deposit at Trinil.

    Prehistoric Man

    W. L. H. Duckworth

  • Maybe Pithecanthropus had a monkey uncle, but no Pithecanthropus ever went monkey.

    This World Is Taboo

    Murray Leinster

  • Pithecanthropus (of Java) branched off as a distinct genus about the middle of the Miocene.

British Dictionary definitions for pithecanthropus


noun plural -pi (-ˌpaɪ)
  1. any primitive apelike man of the former genus Pithecanthropus, now included in the genus HomoSee Java man, Peking man
Derived Formspithecanthropine or pithecanthropoid, adjective

Word Origin for pithecanthropus

C19: New Latin, from Greek pithēkos ape + anthrōpos man
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 pithecanthropus

genus of extinct primates, 1895, from Modern Latin, literally "monkey-man," from Greek pithekos "ape" + anthropos "man" (see anthropo-). Coined 1868 by Haeckel as a name for a hypothetical link between apes and men (attested in English in this sense from 1876); applied by Dr. Eugène Dubois (1858-1940), physician of the Dutch army in Java, to remains he found there in 1891.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

pithecanthropus in Science


[pĭth′ĭ-kănthrə-pəs, -kăn-thrōpəs]
  1. An extinct hominid postulated from bones found in Java in 1891 and originally designated Pithecanthropus erectus because it was thought to represent a species evolutionarily between apes and humans. Pithecanthropus is now classified as Homo erectus. Also called Java man See more at Homo erectus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.