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mangabey, n.

Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: A borrowing from French. Etymon: French mangabey.
Etymology: < French mangabey ( Buffon Hist. nat. XIV. (1766) 244) < Malagasy Mangabe, the name of a town in eastern Madagascar (because Buffon believed mistakenly that the mangabey was native to Madagascar; he notes that he offers this as a provisional name since he is unaware of the animal's local name).

  Any of several long-tailed monkeys of the genus Cercocebus, found chiefly in forests of western and central Africa.

1774   O. Goldsmith Hist. Earth IV. 234   The fourth of this [sc. the monkey] kind is the Mangabey... It is a native of Madagascar.
1879   W. L. Lindsay Mind in Lower Animals II. 83   A sooty mangabey (monkey) had acquired a good number of bad habits.
1930   W. M. Mann Wild Animals in & out of Zoo iv. 44   The sooty mangabey from West Africa is perhaps the most gentle in disposition of all the monkeys in the collection.
1966   R. Morris & D. Morris Men & Apes vi. 166   In Africa the trees abound with colourful, long-limbed, long-tailed guenons and mangabeys.
1992   Cambr. Encycl. Human Evol. (1994) ii. iv. 61/2   Mangabeys (Cercocebus) eat fruit, supplemented with some leaves and a few animals.

1774—1992(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, September 2000).

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