From Middle English ape, from Old English apa (“ape, monkey”), from Proto-Germanic *apô (“monkey, ape”), possibly derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ep- (“water”), compare Proto-Celtic *abū (“river”), if the word originally referred to a "water sprite". Traditionally assumed to be an ancient loanword instead, ultimately probably from an unidentified non-Indo-European language of regions in Africa or Asia where monkeys are native. Cognate with Scots aip (“ape”), West Frisian aap (“ape”), Dutch aap (“monkey, ape”), Low German Ape (“ape”), German Affe (“monkey, ape”), Swedish apa (“monkey, ape”), Icelandic api (“ape”).
ape (plural apes)
- A primate of the clade Hominoidea, generally larger than monkeys and distinguished from them by having no tail.
- Any such primate other than a human.
- (derogatory) An uncivilised person.
- One who apes; a foolish imitator.
ape (third-person singular simple present apes, present participle aping or apeing, simple past and past participle aped)
- (intransitive) To behave like an ape.
- (transitive) To imitate or mimic, particularly to imitate poorly.
Clipping of apeshit (“ape-shit (crazy)”).
ape (not comparable)
- (slang) Wild; crazy.