Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An arboreal anthropoid ape (Pongo pygmaeus) of Borneo and Sumatra, having a shaggy reddish-brown coat, very long arms, and no tail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An arboreal anthropoid ape genus Pongo consisting of two species, Pongo pygmaeus of Borneo and Pongo abelii of Sumatra, having a shaggy reddish-brown coat, very long arms, and no tail.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. large long-armed ape of Borneo and Sumatra having arboreal habits

Etymologies

Malay orang hutan : orang, man + hutan, wilderness, jungle.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Malay orang ("person", "man") + hutan ("forest") "forest man". The name "orang utan (sic)" appears to have been bestowed by Europeans. The indigenous name given to the apes Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii by locals historically was mawas. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • While many believe the term orangutan is a reference to its orange or light red hair, this actually isn't the correct etymology.

    isRealli - The New Blog of the State of Israel

  • The orangutan is a Convention on International Trade of Endangerd Species (CITES) I species and was added to the U.S.

    Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests

  • Conservatives (sic) predict without immediate action, the orangutan could be the first great ape to become instinct in the wild.

    CNN Transcript Jun 23, 2006

  • One of my top priorities was to pay another visit to Asia's only great ape, the orangutan, which is endemic to Borneo and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

    NYT > Home Page

  • The rate of deforestation and habitat loss is so great that some scientists are predicting that the orangutan will be the first great ape to go extinct in modern times.

    TreeHugger

  • Yet the orangutan is a creature who lives alone, seeking out others only to mate--but their fur is an unattractive shade of orange, and they shit at unfortunate times when you visit them at the zoo.

    By Popular Request--Why Not Moose?

  • The sighting of an "orangutan" or some other odd critter in Baker County, FL, has brought out more witnesses.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • A Florida Fish & Wildlife investigator thinks the "orangutan" seen in Baker County was just an orange-phase fox squirrel.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • There have been sightings of an "orangutan" around Glen St. Mary, Florida, a small Baker County town along the northern border of the state.

    Archive 2007-11-01

  • The vast tracts of montane forest still remain undisturbed and therefore still support some of the larger megafauna such as orangutan and Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis).

    Borneo montane rain forests

Comments

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  • Another usage on durian.

    July 16, 2009

  • I don't think they need a screwdriver!

    July 16, 2009

  • "There is a saying among primate keepers, Heidi Lyn explained, that if you give a screwdriver to a chimp, it will throw it at someone. If you give a screwdriver to a gorilla, it will scratch itself. But if you give a screwdriver to an orangutan, it will let itself out of the cage."
    -- Christine Kenneally, The First Word, p90

    July 16, 2009

  • A word that is sometimes spelled with an additional g. Here's a list of some other words that are much more fun with an additional g.

    August 30, 2008