Algonquian

noun

Al·​gon·​qui·​an al-ˈgän-kwē-ən How to pronounce Algonquian (audio)
-ˈgäŋ-
variants or Algonquin
al-ˈgän-kwən How to pronounce Algonquian (audio)
-ˈgäŋ-
or Algonkian or less commonly Algonkin
1
usually Algonquin
a
plural Algonquin or Algonquins : a First Nations people of the Ottawa River valley
b
: the dialect of Ojibwa spoken by these people
2
usually Algonquian
a
: a family of languages spoken by Indigenous peoples from Labrador to Carolina and westward into the Great Plains
b
plural Algonquian or Algonquians : a member of the peoples speaking Algonquian languages

Examples of Algonquian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Essays Ross Gay Algonquin Books The New England Indie Bestseller List, as brought to you by IndieBound and NEIBA, for the week ended Sunday, July 9, 2023. BostonGlobe.com, 13 July 2023 All 13 full moons have a name that come from season-tracking traditions by Indigenous Americans, specifically from the Algonquin tribes, which helped people to remember what to expect from the current season and how to prepare for the future. Maggie Horton, Country Living, 2 July 2023 According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the Buck Moon gets its name from Algonquin tribes of the northeast who gave it the name to reflect the time of year when the new antlers of buck deer made their first appearance. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, 2 July 2023 For thousands of years, the Algonquian, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples used this term to describe a time of great abundance. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 31 May 2023 Potawatomi, Algonquin and Chippewa Trails Three looped trails named after Native American tribes link together. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 15 June 2023 According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the name was used by Native American Algonquin tribes that live in the northeastern U.S. and Ojibwe, Dakota and Lakota peoples. Christopher Brito, CBS News, 2 June 2023 Turner moved into the home, known as Villa Algonquin, in 1998 with her partner, German actor and music producer Erwin Bach, 67. Peter Mikelbank, Peoplemag, 25 May 2023 According to the Almanac, the name is likely derived from Algonquin and Dakota traditions. Stefanie Waldek, Travel + Leisure, 5 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Algonquian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Algonquin borrowed from French, earlier Algoumequin, perhaps borrowed from Passamaquoddy-Maliseet (Algonquian language of Maine and New Brunswick) elakómkwik "they are our relatives (or allies)"; Algonquian from Algonqui(n) + -ian entry 1

Note: The form Algoumequin, from which Algonquain (1632) and later Algonquin is usually taken to be contracted, was first used by Samuel de Champlain in 1603, recording a meeting with a large group of Indians at the mouth of the Saguenay River: "Ils estoient trois nations quand ils furent à la guerre, les Estechemins, Algoumequins, & Montagnes, au nombre de mille …" ("They were three nations when they were at war, the Estechemins, the Algoumequins, and the Montagnes, altogether a thousand …"; Des sauvages, ou, Voyage de Samuel Champlain, de Brouage, fait en la France nouvelle, l'an mille six cens trois [Paris, 1603], pp. 5-6.) The etymology given above was suggested by Gordon M. Day in "The Name 'Algonquin'," International Journal of American Linguistics, vol. 38, no. 4 (October, 1972), pp. 226-28. Day gives the angle-bracketed transcription [ɛlægómogwik]; the transcription elakómkwik is used in the Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 15, Northeast (Washington, D.C., 1978), p. 792—presumably elehkomoqik in the orthography of the online Passamaquoddy-Maliseet Dictionary, from the changed conjunct stem elakum- "be related to." Day dismisses the Micmac etymology algoomaking "at the place of spearing fish and eels" suggested by J. N. B. Hewitt, on, among other reasons, the grounds that no Micmac were present when Champlain met the group of Indians at the Saguenay River.

First Known Use

1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of Algonquian was in 1667

Dictionary Entries Near Algonquian

Cite this Entry

“Algonquian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Algonquian. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

Algonquian

noun
Al·​gon·​qui·​an al-ˈgän-kwē-ən How to pronounce Algonquian (audio)
-ˈgäŋ-
1
: a family of American Indian languages spoken from Labrador to the Carolinas and westward to the Great Plains
2
: a member of any of the peoples speaking Algonquian languages

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