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This Proto-Germanic entry contains reconstructed terms and roots. As such, the term(s) in this entry are not directly attested, but are hypothesized to have existed based on comparative evidence.



Possibly derived from Proto-Indo-European *h₂ep- (water), compare Proto-Celtic *abū (river), if the word originally referred to a "water sprite". Compare Proto-Celtic *abankos (water creature), from whence Welsh afanc and Breton avank (beaver), Middle Irish abacc (dwarf).
It is however more popular to assume an ancient loanword instead, ultimately probably from an unidentified non-Indo-European language of regions in Africa or Asia where monkeys are native. The same wanderwort may be reflected in Hebrew קוֹף(qōf), Akkadian uqūpu, Egyptian gfj, Middle Persian [script needed] (kpyk' /⁠kabīg⁠/), Sanskrit कपि (kapi), all meaning “monkey, ape”, and Ancient Greek κῆπος (kêpos, long-tailed monkey). As Kroonen notes, the lack of an initial velar consonant in Germanic implies that the foreign word entered at a very early pre-Germanic stage, such that it was borrowed with an initial laryngeal.



*apô m[1]

  1. ape, monkey


masculine an-stemDeclension of *apô (masculine an-stem)
singular plural
nominative *apô *apaniz
vocative *apô *apaniz
accusative *apanų *apanunz
genitive *apiniz *apanǫ̂
dative *apini *apammaz
instrumental *apinē *apammiz


  • Proto-West Germanic: *apō
    • Old English: apa
      • Middle English: ape, eape, aape
        • English: ape
        • Scots: ape, aip
    • Old Frisian: *apa
      • North Frisian: aab (Föhr-Amrum), ååwe (Mooring)
      • Saterland Frisian: Oape
      • West Frisian: aap
    • Old Saxon: apo
      • Middle Low German: āpe
        • Low German: Ape
        • German Low German: Aap
        • Plautdietsch: Op
    • Old Dutch: *apo
    • Old High German: affo
      • Middle High German: affe
        • Alemannic German: Aff
        • Central Franconian:
          Hunsrik: Aff
        • German: Affe
        • Luxembourgish: Af
        • Rhine Franconian:
          Pennsylvania German: Aff
        • Yiddish: אַפֿע(afe)
    • Proto-Slavic: *opъ
      • Proto-Slavic: *opica (see there for further descendants)
  • Old Norse: api m
    • Icelandic: api m
    • Faroese: apa f
    • Norwegian Nynorsk: apa f, ape
    • Old Swedish: apa f
      • Swedish: apa c
    • Danish: abe c
      • Norwegian Bokmål: ape f or m
    • Gutnish: ape, apå


  1. ^ Kroonen, Guus (2013), “*apan-”, in Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series; 11), Leiden, Boston: Brill, →ISBN, page 31