Ape (verb): American slang meaning to "imitate" or "mimic".

Example: In the last decade, Mercedes and Lexus have done nothing but ape each other's styling.

This term supposedly stems from the propensity of monkeys to mimic people - but the last time I saw monkeys at the zoo, they were too busy excreting all over their spiffy artificial habitat and yammering at each other to think about their audience of sticky-faced elementary school kids.

the term ape is commonly used to refer to monkeys or the great apes, or some combination thereof. As it happens though, biologists have assigned a specific meaning to the word ape. Apes are members of the Superfamily of Hominoidea, the hominoids.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Primates
Suborder: Haplorrhini
Parvorder: Catarrhini
Superfamily: Hominoidea

Apes include the gibbons and the great apes. They are tailless, although most of them are avid climbers, and have long arms and specially adapted wrist joints to help them swing through the trees. They are generally omnivores, often with a preference for fruit and leaves. They are native to Asia and Africa, and with one notable exception are currently suffering from reduced habitat and populations.

If you have an unidentified Catarrhini, the preferred method of determining whether it is an ape or an old world monkey is to (very carefully) look at its molars. The old world monkeys have bilophodont molars, with even, parallel sets of cusps. Apes have the Y-5 molar pattern, five cusps, three on one side and two on the other. (The valley between these cusps have a 'Y' shape, hence Y-5).

Ape n. [AS. apa; akin to D. aap, OHG. affo, G. affe, Icel. api, Sw. apa, Dan. abe, W. epa.]

1. Zool.

A quadrumanous mammal, esp. of the family Simiadae, having teeth of the same number and form as in man, and possessing neither a tail nor cheek pouches. The name is applied esp. to species of the genus Hylobates, and is sometimes used as a general term for all Quadrumana. The higher forms, the gorilla, chimpanzee, and ourang, are often called anthropoid apes or man apes.

⇒ The ape of the Old Testament was probably the rhesus monkey of India, and allied forms.


One who imitates servilely (in allusion to the manners of the ape); a mimic.



A dupe.




© Webster 1913.

Ape, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Aped; p. pr. & vb. n. Aping.]

To mimic, as an ape imitates human actions; to imitate or follow servilely or irrationally.

"How he apes his sire."


The people of England will not ape the fashions they have never tried.


© Webster 1913.

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