Also found in: Thesaurus.


1. Resembling an ape.
2. Slavishly or foolishly imitative: an apish impersonation.
3. Silly; outlandish.

ap′ish·ly adv.
ap′ish·ness n.


1. stupid; foolish
2. resembling an ape
3. slavishly imitative
ˈapishly adv
ˈapishness n


(ˈeɪ pɪʃ)

1. resembling an ape.
2. slavishly imitative.
3. foolishly affected; silly.
ap′ish•ly, adv.
ap′ish•ness, n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.apish - being or given to servile imitationapish - being or given to servile imitation
imitative - marked by or given to imitation; "acting is an imitative art"; "man is an imitative being"


Copying another in an inferior or obsequious way:
References in classic literature ?
He now flew into a very great passion, and, suspecting the company who had come in the night before, he went to look after them, but they were all off; so he swore that he never again would take in such a troop of vagabonds, who ate a great deal, paid no reckoning, and gave him nothing for his trouble but their apish tricks.
Vaguely the memory of his apish childhood passed slowly in review--then came a strangely tangled mass of faces, figures and events which seemed to have no relation to Tarzan of the Apes, and yet which were, even in their fragmentary form, familiar.
A twisted and wizened complex of apish features, perforated by upturned, sky-open, Mongolian nostrils, by a mouth that sagged from a huge upper-lip and faded precipitately into a retreating chin, by peering querulous eyes that blinked as blink the eyes of denizens of monkey-cages.
He had long since discovered the apish propensity for mimicry and learned to make use of it.
On horseback, therefore, he was perpetually swinging himself backwards and forwards, now on the horse's ears, then anon on the very rump of the animal, now hanging both his legs on one side, and now sitting with his face to the tail, moping, mowing, and making a thousand apish gestures, until his palfrey took his freaks so much to heart, as fairly to lay him at his length on the green grass an incident which greatly amused the Knight, but compelled his companion to ride more steadily thereafter.
Their bodies were covered with hair, and though they stood upon their feet without touching their hands to the ground, they had a very ape-like appearance, since they stooped forward and had very long arms and quite apish features.
Short hair grew upon a large portion of their limbs and bodies, which still retained a considerable trace of apish progenitors.
heaps, heap, hasp, hams, emphasis, Old the of books all -Genesis emphases, apish, ahem, EMPHASISE Proverbs, Numbers, S.
The scene encapsulated almost every nightmare white people had ever entertained about the barbarities of primitive Africa; rape, the bayoneting of a tiny baby, banana skins scattered about as a sign of apish brute indifference.
In poems such as "Black Earth" and "My Apish Cousins," Moore uses highly stylized tropes of the fable--such as anthropomorphic speech, political trickery, and morality--to investigate how "mediation is the means by which we share our human-animal worlds in the first place" (46).
Commenting on Vernon Lee's "Impersonality and Evolution in Music," a review of Edmund Gurney's The Power of Sound (1880), Hopkins dismisses the notion of an evolved aesthetic sense, mocking the thought "that we enjoy music because our apish ancestors serenaded their Juliet-apes of the period in rudimentary recitatives and our emotions are a AtheA survival--that sexual business will Ain shortA be found by roking [sic] the pot.
Who knoweth not, that Apes men Martins call; Which beast this baggage seemes as t'were himselfe: So as both nature, nurture, name and all, Of that's expressed in this apish elfe.