1. Any of various tailless Old World primates of the superfamily Hominoidea, including the gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans.
2. Any of various members of this superfamily bearing fur and usually living in the wild, especially orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees, in contrast to humans. Not in scientific use.
3. A tailed primate such as a monkey. Not in scientific use.
4. A mimic or imitator.
5. Informal A clumsy or boorish person.
tr.v. aped, ap·ing, apesIdiom:
To imitate or mimic, especially in a thoughtless or inept way. See Synonyms at imitate.
go ape Informal
To become wildly excited or angry: went ape at the party; went ape when she saw the parking ticket.
[Middle English, from Old English apa.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.