Definition of aye-aye in English:



  • A rare nocturnal Madagascan primate related to the lemurs. It has incisor teeth like thoe of a rodent and an elongated finger on each hand with which it pries insects from bark.

    Daubentonia madagascariensis, the only member of the family Daubentoniidae

    ‘Fossils suggest that lemurs, bush babies, lorises, aye-ayes, and their relatives (the prosimians) split off from the ancestors of monkeys and apes around 55 million years ago.’
    • ‘So do wombats, hyraxes, aye-ayes, and lagomorphs, to give a few examples chosen from modern mammals.’
    • ‘They open a hole with their rodent-like incisors and extract their prey with their elongated fourth finger and long tongue - a manner of foraging very much like the primates, aye-ayes.’
    • ‘The fact that humans have a large frontal cortex doesn't necessarily mean that they are special; relatively large frontal lobes have developed independently in aye-ayes among the lemurs and spider monkeys among the New World monkeys.’
    • ‘You'll see some of the island's wildlife - indri, aye-aye, and sifaka to name a few - and gain a deep understanding of their place in one of the world's most unique ecosystems.’



/ˈīī/ /ˈaɪaɪ/


Late 18th century from French, from Malagasy aiay.