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A baboon

Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English babewin, baboin, from Old French babouin, from baboue (grimace; muzzle), of West Germanic origin, related to dialectal German Bäppe (lips; muzzle), Middle High German beffen (to bark), Middle English baffen (to bark). See also baff, baffle.



baboon (plural baboons)

  1. An Old World monkey of the genus Papio, having dog-like muzzles and large canine teeth, cheek pouches, a short tail, and naked callosities on the buttocks. [from 13th c.]
    • 1971: Philip José Farmer, Down in the Black Gang: and others; a story collection, page 79 (Nelson Doubleday)
      Mix swallowed the comment he wanted to make, that the council hall stank like a congress of baboons. But he was in no position to insult his host, nor should he. The man was only expressing the attitude of his time.
    • 2012 March-April, John T. Jost, “Social Justice: Is It in Our Nature (and Our Future)?”, in American Scientist[1], volume 100, number 2, page 162:
      He draws eclectically on studies of baboons, descriptive anthropological accounts of hunter-gatherer societies and, in a few cases, the fossil record.
  2. (colloquial, derogatory) A foolish or boorish person.

Usage notesEdit

The collective noun for baboons is troop.

Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 baboon” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, second edition (1989)