[tahr-zuh n, -zan]


the hero of a series of jungle stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
a person of superior or superhuman physical strength, agility, and prowess.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tarzan

Contemporary Examples of tarzan

Historical Examples of tarzan

  • Tarzan (of, if I remember rightly, the Apes) never won the double event.

    If Winter Don't

    Barry Pain

  • Tarzan, you'll remember, did not learn to smoke and drink until the second book.

    The Big Fix

    George Oliver Smith

  • They were as happy about the whole mess as a pair of kids erecting a Tarzan dwelling in a tree.

    Rats in the Belfry

    John York Cabot

  • And I would think that maybe in a way Etl was like Tarzan, being raised by apes.

    Stamped Caution

    Raymond Zinke Gallun

  • After suggesting everything that seemed akin to this, she happened upon “Tarzan.”

    The Crimson Thread

    Roy J. Snell

British Dictionary definitions for tarzan



(sometimes not capital) informal, often ironic a man with great physical strength, agility, and virility

Word Origin for Tarzan

C20: after the hero of a series of stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs
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 tarzan


name of character in a series of novels by U.S. fiction writer Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), introduced 1914.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tarzan in Culture


A character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the early twentieth century. Tarzan, born to aristocratic parents but orphaned in Africa, is raised by apes, who teach him to speak their language.


The adventures of Tarzan have been chronicled in countless books, comic strips, animated cartoons, radio and television series, and motion pictures.


By extension, a “Tarzan” is a macho male, figuratively thumping his chest to get attention.


A character in popular novels by the twentieth-century American author Edgar Rice Burroughs. (See under “Mythology and Folklore.”)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.