APE (Old Eng. apa; Dutch aap; Old Ger. affo; Welsh epa; Old Bohemian op; a word of uncertain origin, possibly an imitation of the animal's chatter), the generic English name, till the 16th century, for animals of the monkey tribe, and still used specifically for the tailless, manlike representatives of the order Primates (q.v.). The word is now generally a synonym for "monkey," but the common verb for both (as transferred figuratively to human beings) is "to ape," i.e. to imitate.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)