Green’s Dictionary of Slang

baboon n.

[SE; like ape/ape n. (1), the baboon is stereotyped as an aggressive and ugly creature]

1. a thug, a ruffian; a ne’er-do-well; thus baboonish adj., foolish.

Wyclif in Works 161: There is the curious babwynrie formed from baboon [F&H].
[UK] ‘Robin Hood and the Stranger’ in Ritson Robin Hood XI Pt 2 82: The prince he then began to storm, / Cries Fool, fanatick, baboon!
[UK]Nashe Pierce Pennilesse 48: Thou great baboune, thou Pigmie Braggart.
[UK]Look About You xiv: Your dear son Jack-an-apes; Your monkey, your baboon, your ass, your gull!
[UK]L. Barry Ram-Alley IV i: Sure this Baboune is a great Puritane.
[UK]Jonson Bartholomew Fair II v: Are you under-peering, you baboon?
G. Wither Britain’s Remembrancer canto I 29: Make him abhor such Apes, and such Baboones / As Parasites, and impudent Buffoones.
[UK]T. Nabbes Covent Garden II ii: Thou art a Baboone of formality, and an ape of court-ship.
[UK]R. Howard The Committee IV i: Out upon the precise Baboon.
[UK]F. Fane Love in the Dark II i : jac.: Oh, do you want your scurvy Wainscot chops? I, there they are, my pretty sweet Baboon. int.: You might use some moderation in your abuses.
[UK]Otway Soldier’s Fortune III i: If my design but succeed upon this baboon, I’ll be canonized.
[UK]Vanbrugh Aesop II i: Hark — I hear the old Baboon Cough.
[US] ref. in H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 29: The prototypical Frenchman in John Arbuthnot’s The History of John Bull (1712) was Lewis Baboon.
[UK]C. Hitchin Conduct of Receivers and Thief-Takers 7: His Skittish and Baboonish Majesty was set in the Stocks.
[UK]J. Gay Distressd Wife III vi: How can you, Jack, be so inhuman, as not to rescue the Girl out of the Paws of that old Baboon?
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 70: Sink me, says he, you moon-ey’d loon, / Got on a bitch by some baboon, / (For nothing but baboon and punkee, / Could get a thing so like a monkey).
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Poor Gentleman I i: Why, you booby, who ha’ made thee such a baboon?
[US]J.F. Cooper Pilot (1824) II 142: A damn’d young baboon-behav’d curmudgeon.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) 15 Mar. 1/1: I would stop the progress of a certain young baboon, of making himself one of the most outreageous of all fools.
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune 208: And if he came on business up stairs [...] what brought him down stairs, the baboon?
[UK]Paul Pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: THE BATH BABOON. A sight for the Bath chaps.— To be seen alive, daily, on the doorstep of the High Bailiff's office [...] a baboon of peculiar stature, with a slight moustache, looking after the girls, and causing immense attraction.
[UK]G.A. Sala Quite Alone III 124: ‘Sulky young baboon,’ the hostess would continue.
[US]J. Miller First Fam’lies in the Sierras 132: His face was never relieved by a smile, and his chin stuck out fearfully; so that one day [...] Snapping Andy [...] called him ‘Old Baboon’.
[US]A.J. Boyd Shellback 222: You miserable-looking sick baboons.
[UK]J. Masefield ‘Evening – Regatta Day’ in Salt-Water Ballads 51: D’ye hear, you Port Mahone baboon, I ask you, do you hear?
[US]P. Kyne Cappy Ricks 100: Baboon! Huh! Baboon! Yes; you’re the baboon!
[US]Hecht & MacArthur Front Page Act I: Now, listen, you lousy baboon.
[US]Hecht & Fowler Great Magoo 62: You daffy, titterin’, slug-nutty baboon!
[US]W.D. Overholser Buckaroo’s Code (1948) 109: You look here, you tow-headed, bow-legged, ugly-faced baboon.
[UK]K. Howard Small Time Crooks 20: If that big baboon reckons I pay him to brush me off for a floozie, he’s got a pay-roll comin’ to him that ain’t in dollar bills.
[SA]P. Baragwanath The Brave Remain 98: Look, baboon! When a large body of police go through an area, there is no dagga left to buy.
[SA]A. Fugard Boesman and Lena Act I: Stop that baboon language!
[US]H. Selby Jr Demon (1979) 11: Throw it past the big baboon.
Baron New Amer. Library 17 Sept. n.p.: She confirms what she has always suspected: that all men are baboons [R].
[US]C. Hiaasen Native Tongue 275: One of them had been gunned down later by a baboon.
[US]J. MacArthur ‘Jack Rabbit Slim’s Cellar’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] A place to hide [...] somewhere my brother or his baboons won’t find me.

2. (US Und.) a very hard-working prostitute.

[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 157: She was a ‘baboon,’ always on the go, always talking and quarreling with her man.

3. (Aus./S.Afr./US) an abusive term for a black or coloured person.

‘Mrs Crow’s Arrival’ in Jim Crow’s Song-Book 10: I travelled to logicom gardens, / To see the beasts, one afternoon, / Vhere dey vere going to steal me, / To show me for a baboon.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth, WA) Supp. 19 Dec. 25/2: If I were President of the United States I’d make it a criminal offence for any boxer to go into the ring with one of the smoke-colored baboons.
N. Devitt Spell of S. Afr. 98: ‘Oh!’ muttered the delinquent audibly, ‘Must I appear before that bloody baboon?’ The coloured magistrate looked up. ‘Yes,’ he said in faultless English, ‘you must.’.
[UK]D. Bee Children of Yesterday 82: He called the old Basuto a ‘bloody old baboon’.
[US]P. Beatty White Boy Shuffle 23: Hello! Don’t you fucking baboons know that this is the goddam enemy?
[SA]Dispatch Live Online (East London, S. Afr.) 11 Sept. 🌐 A manager of a poultry company is facing a barrage of allegations after allegedly calling a black employee a baboon.

In compounds

baboon-faced (adj.) (also baboon-visaged)

very ugly.

[[UK]Sham Beggar II vi: Some tawdry Fop [...] viewing his Baboon Face in the Looking-glass].
[UK] ‘Nights At Sea’ in Bentley’s Misc. Dec. 613: I’m blessed if ever I seed sich a set o’ baboon-visaged fellows in all my days.
J.W. Ord Rural Sketches & Poems 119: A beautful little pony, came galloping into the arena, with a tiny baboon-faced little gentleman, on his back, in full military uniform, buttoned up to his chin.
Aldershottana 60: Half-a-dozen of the Turkish ladies shuffled down to the ladies’ cabin, escorted by that tall and baboon-faced eunuch, Yacoob.
W.H.G. Kingston Antony Waymouth 95: I thinks as how now, sir, I can keep a civil tongue in my head to those baboon-faced, sneaking, blackguard scoundrels.
J. Simms Nature’s Revelations of [...] Physiognomy 331: The ungainly baboon-faced, pot-bellied rapparees are the natural offspring of the [...] interminable bog-land that occupies such a vast proportion of the country.
E.W. Blaisdell Hidden Record 123: There was a thud [...] and then the great black, burly and baboon-faced monster measured his length upon the ground.
[US]Sat. Rev. 84 709/1: The weak are the majority. The weak of brain, of body, the knock-kneed and flat- footed, muddle-minded, loose-jointed, ill-put-together, baboon-faced, the white-eye-lashed, slow of wit, the practical, the unimaginative, forgetful, selfish [etc.].
Wetmore’s Wkly 1 7: ‘Say, who began this conversation, you baboon-faced...’ ‘I did, you bullet-headed barbarian’.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 10 Apr. in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 182: I prefer Belfast to Dublin [...] such a collection of baboon-faced rogues, & provincial patriotisms, and shoddy shops full of shoddy goods.

In phrases

like a blue-arsed baboon (adv.) (also like a raped ape, ...striped-assed ape)

headlong, very fast; see also buzz around like a blue-arsed fly under buzz v.1

[US]L. Shecter On the Pad 184: This guy is going like a raped ape. Zip! He’s running like a deer under the el.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 136: It [i.e. a car] could tear through the Kentucky countryside like a stripped-ass [sic] ape.
A. Catlin Natural Light 73: Swanson’s hoppin’ aboot the ship like a blue-arsed baboon lookin’ for bananas.
D. Holmstrom Life Is a Highway 86: [of an automobile] This bitch’s bastard’s whore went like a goddamn raped ape with me at the wheel.