Ancient Word of the Day: Orangutan

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Orangutan: n. Orang ‘forest’ hutan ‘person’ or forest person in Malay

Orangutans belong to the great ape family, our closest biological relatives. This familial link is reflected in the word orangutan itself, which Malay speakers today can still recognise as deriving from the phrase orang hutan, which means “forest person”.

Beloved by children and animal lovers of all ages for their gentle soulful natures and intelligence, the word Oranghutan means Orang ‘person’ hutan ‘forest. Help protect these precious beings and #Boycott4Wildlife

This term goes back over a thousand years, contrary to theconventional beliefthat this word was coined by European visitors to Indonesia in the 17th century.

Surprisingly, the oldest surviving texts to use the word orangutan do not come from Sumatra or Borneo, where orangutans live today, but from the neighbouring island of Java. One of the oldest texts to mention orangutans is the 9th-century poem

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