[sim-ee-uh n]


of or relating to an ape or monkey.
characteristic of apes or monkeys: long, simian fingers.


an ape or monkey.

Origin of simian

1600–10; < Latin sīmi(a) an ape (probably derivative of sīmus flat-nosed < Greek sīmós) + -an
Related formssim·i·an·i·ty [sim-ee-an-i-tee] /ˌsɪm iˈæn ɪ ti/, nounsub·sim·i·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for simian

monkey, primate, anthropoid, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan

Examples from the Web for simian

Contemporary Examples of simian

  • After Justice and Simian won Best Video for “We Are Your Friends,” West crashed the stage with an “Aw, hell naw!”

    The Daily Beast logo
    6 Classic Kanye Freakouts

    The Daily Beast Video

    September 14, 2009

Historical Examples of simian

  • The Harvard hellions (it is his own term) were indefatigable, simian, pitiless.


    Edna Ferber

  • But the curiosity of a simian is as excessive as the toil of an ant.

    This Simian World

    Clarence Day

  • They will use up a lot of it in a simian habit3 called travel.

    This Simian World

    Clarence Day

  • The simian submits with odd readiness to the loss of this privilege.

    This Simian World

    Clarence Day

  • Whatever a simian does, there must always be some talking about it.

    This Simian World

    Clarence Day

British Dictionary definitions for simian



of, relating to, or resembling a monkey or apeAlso (rare): simious (ˈsɪmɪəs)


a monkey or ape

Word Origin for simian

C17: from Latin sīmia an ape, probably from sīmus flat-nosed, from Greek sīmos
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 simian

"characteristic of monkeys or apes," c.1600, from Latin simia "ape," from simus "snub-nosed," from Greek simos "snub-nosed" (like the Scythians), also a masculine proper name, of unknown origin. Biological meaning "pertaining to monkeys" is from 1863. The noun meaning "an ape or monkey" first is attested in 1880.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

simian in Science




Resembling or characteristic of apes or monkeys.


An ape or monkey. Ther term simian is no longer used in scientific contexts. Compare prosimian.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.