An extinct hominid that is believed to have spread from Africa to Europe and Asia about 2 million years ago and appears to have survived in Asia to at least 150,000 years ago. Compare "Java", "Peking man", "Solo". Also in extended use: man as a biped.
It was originally known as Pithecanthropus erectus; fossils formerly assigned to the genera Sinanthropus, Meganthropus, and Telanthropus are now generally regarded as examples of Homo erectus.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Popular Science Monthly. From scientific Latin Homo erectus, species name from Homo, genus name + erectus, specific name, specific use of classical Latin ērectus, so called on account of its upright (fully bipedal) posture. Compare earlier Pithecanthropus.