Definition of orangutan in English:


(also orangutang)

Pronunciation /ɔːˌraŋuːˈtan/ /əˈraŋuːtan/


  • A large mainly solitary arboreal ape with long red hair, long arms, and hooked hands and feet, native to Borneo and Sumatra.

    Pongo pygmaeus, family Pongidae

    • ‘Experts now bracket humans in the ‘hominidae’ family of great apes, along with orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas.’
    • ‘He added: ‘When people think of monkeys they think of chimpanzees and orangutans which are actually great apes.’’
    • ‘In fact, actually compared to chimpanzees and gorillas the orangutans are really much more endangered.’
    • ‘Although orangutans live solitary lives most of the time, they have a complex social structure and are characterized by extreme sexual dimorphism.’
    • ‘At the zoo, people flock to gawp at the chimps, gorillas and orang-utans.’
    • ‘‘There are 6,000 orang-utans left in Sumatra and they are losing a thousand a year,’ said Galster.’
    • ‘The endangered orang-utans live wild only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and are the largest arboreal mammals on earth.’
    • ‘A baby orang-utan - Budi, meaning the wise one - has been born to mum Subis, bringing the total number of Sumatran orang-utans to seven.’
    • ‘Besides the more well-known gorillas, the zoo is home to two families of chimpanzees and a pair of orangutans.’
    • ‘This scheme will give eight eager, outgoing, environmentally interested young people the opportunity to head into the Borneo Jungle on a challenging three-week mission to help endangered orang-utans.’
    • ‘The lifeboat is also occupied by a zebra, an orangutan, and a hyena.’
    • ‘There are an estimated 13,000 orang-utans left in Sabah from a population of over 145,000 100 years ago, making this their last stronghold in Malaysia.’
    • ‘The plight of the orangutans is very moving and we felt the foundation would be a very appropriate place to raise funds for.’
    • ‘The fires have driven orang-utans, already rapidly declining due to forest clearing, into populated areas, where the adults have been killed for food and the young taken for the illegal pet trade.’
    • ‘Chimpanzee families really have something to screech about now that they, along with a pair of orangutans, have moved into new premises at the Johannesburg Zoo.’
    • ‘An eight-day trip costs around £1200 and may be combined with rainforest trips to see orang-utans or a diving trip to Layang Layang.’
    • ‘At breakfast time you can eat with the orang-utans.’
    • ‘It has the added advantage of not disturbing the denizens of the forest who assume that the people crossing it are orang-utans!’


Late 17th century from Malay orang utan ‘forest person’.



/ɔːˌraŋuːˈtan/ /əˈraŋuːtan/