any of a group of anthropoid primates characterized by long arms, a broad chest, and the absence of a tail, comprising the family Pongidae (great ape) which includes the chimpanzee, gorilla, and orangutan, and the family Hylobatidae (lesser ape) which includes the gibbon and siamang.
(loosely) any primate except humans.
an imitator; mimic.
Informal. a big, ugly, clumsy person.
to imitate; mimic:
to ape another’s style of writing.
go ape, Slang. to become violently emotional:
When she threatened to leave him, he went ape.
go ape over, Slang. to be extremely enthusiastic about:
They go ape over old rock music.
Contemporary Examples

If only Charlton Heston had been there to shriek something about overthrowing our ape overlords.
CPAC: Come for the Crazy, Stay for the Party Michelle Cottle March 6, 2014

He self-consciously tries to ape the mannerisms of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett.
The Foodie Detective: The Pepe Carvalho Novels by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán Malcolm Forbes October 2, 2012

The climate change deniers are jumping on this, as the first George Bush would have said, like ugly on an ape.
Al Gore Warms Up Lloyd Grove December 8, 2009

Liberals often ape the right’s “us versus them” mentality just enough to sacrifice their values, but not enough to win.
Stop the Terror Hysteria Peter Beinart January 22, 2010

With the help of a primatologist (Freida Pinto), Caesar, played by Serkis, grows up to be an ape with genius-level intelligence.
Could Andy Serkis Win an Oscar for Planet of the Apes? Marlow Stern December 21, 2011

Historical Examples

He is as full of cunning as an ape, and, I warrant me, would act his part marvellously.
Wulf the Saxon G. A. Henty

The ape King smoothed his clothes, put his hat on straight, and stepped in.
The Chinese Fairy Book Various

The ape, baffled, pursues his way; the chariot is replaced on the earth.
History of Phoenicia George Rawlinson

Then the ape said: “I will not leave until you have obtained one for me.”
The Chinese Fairy Book Various

To a wise much-meditative House-Mastiff, can that be pleasant, from an unthinking dizened creature of the ape species?
History Of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. VI. (of XXI.) Thomas Carlyle

any of various primates, esp those of the family Pongidae, in which the tail is very short or absent See anthropoid ape See also great ape
(not in technical use) any monkey
an imitator; mimic
(US, informal) a coarse, clumsy, or rude person
(transitive) to imitate

Old English apa “ape, monkey,” from Proto-Germanic *apan (cf. Old Saxon apo, Old Norse api, Dutch aap, German affe), perhaps borrowed in Proto-Germanic from Celtic (cf. Old Irish apa) or Slavic (cf. Old Bohemian op, Slovak opitza), perhaps ultimately from a non-Indo-European language.

Apes were noted in medieval times for mimicry of human action, hence, perhaps, the other figurative use of the word, to mean “a fool.” To go ape (in emphatic form, go apeshit) “go crazy” is 1955, U.S. slang. To lead apes in hell (1570s) was the fancied fate of one who died an old maid.

“to imitate,” 1630s, but the notion is implied earlier, e.g. to play the ape (1570s), Middle English apeshipe “ape-like behavior, simulation” (mid-15c.); and the noun sense of “one who mimics” may date from early 13c. Related: Aped; aping.


(also ape-shit) Stupid and destructive; irrational; berserk: You acted like you were ape, pounding the wall
(also ape-shit) Very enthusiastic; highly excited; bananas: He’s ape about my new car


A black person
The best or greatest; the ultimate: Her paintings are truly ape (Beat talk & rock and roll)
An especially strong and pugnacious hoodlum; a strong-arm man or muscle man; goon, gorilla

Related Terms

go ape, house ape, rug rat
audio, compression
A lossless audio compression algorithm from MonkeysAudio.

A graphics package from the Ohio Supercomputer Centre.
acute pulmonary edema

an animal of the monkey tribe (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chr. 9:21). It was brought from India by the fleets of Solomon and Hiram, and was called by the Hebrews _koph_, and by the Greeks _kepos_, both words being just the Indian Tamil name of the monkey, kapi, i.e., swift, nimble, active. No species of ape has ever been found in Palestine or the adjacent regions.


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