Colorful Colloquialisms: Headscratcher Edition – “peeled ape” (English)

I’ve had several phrases in mind lately for a colloquialism post, but my mom is currently visiting and she said something last night that I’ve never heard before.

I’ve used phrases from my family for posts before. It’s such a rich source. I’m from a rural area in the Midwest, and there are a lot of descriptive metaphors and similes that are used there in regular conversation. I can usually find at least something on them when I start to look into them, but I’m coming up blank on this one:

Last night, Mom was asking what we thought of her haircut (which is great on her). She thinks that her stylist cut it too short this time, and she said, “I look like a peeled ape.”


Image via


I’m not sure what that one even means, let alone where it comes from.

The internet is failing me on this one. All I’ve found so far is a bunch of videos about how to peel a banana and some info on another phrase, “like a raped ape,” which is a different kind of disturbing. Even though the explanations for that phrase are fairly tame (in the short time I’ve looked at them), I’m fairly certain it has origins in racism, and I’m wondering if “peeled ape” does, too.

I still have some books to look, but I’m hoping for some online help, too. Has anyone ever heard this phrase before?

I’ll keep looking, and if I find anything I’ll post it here.

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