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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. stupid; foolish
2. resembling an ape
3. slavishly imitative
ˈapishly adv
ˈapishness n
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈeɪ pɪʃ)

1. resembling an ape.
2. slavishly imitative.
3. foolishly affected; silly.
ap′ish•ly, adv.
ap′ish•ness, n.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Copying another in an inferior or obsequious way:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
To purge the rashness of this cursed deed, First, be thou turned to this ugly shape, For apish deeds transformed to an ape.
(3) As an effect of the play's theatrically self-referential rhetoric, Marston's characters' deployment of heightened language always seems strategic, since characters contextualize it as 'mimic action' which is 'apish' and 'player-like' rather than voicing authentic sentiment (1.5.78, 80).
Their plan, however, is shadowed by the danger of becoming mere 'apish Counterfeiters', both in terms of status and nationality.
against the walls of our cage" (quoted in Ong 211), so Kafka's Red Peter--an ape who has learned to live as a human--informs his listeners that he is no longer in a position to speak about "his former apish life" (225).
Other parameters include the frequency of syllabic suffixes -ed and -eth; the use of disyllabic variants of suffixes -ion and -ious; the frequency of pleonastic verb "do" and of grammatical inversions; the frequency of alliterations; and the use of deviations from the metre to emphasize the meaning of the situation described in the line (not unlike onomatopoeia), for example, "Duck with French nods and apish courtesy" instead of something more "iambic," like: "Or duck with apish nods."