An·​a·​sa·​zi ˌä-nə-ˈsä-zē How to pronounce Anasazi (audio)
plural Anasazi
see usage paragraph below
: a member of a group of prehistoric Indigenous peoples of the canyons of northern Arizona and New Mexico and southwestern Colorado : ancestral puebloan
Usage of Anasazi, Ancestral Pueblo, and Ancestral Puebloan

The English word Anasazi comes from a Navajo word meaning "enemy ancestors." Due to this association, Anasazi is now often considered an inappropriate or disrespectful name for a member of these prehistoric peoples or (when used in the plural) for the peoples referred to as a group. The terms Ancestral Pueblo and Ancestral Puebloan are often used as alternative names for the peoples and for an individual member of these peoples, respectively.

Examples of Anasazi in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi The entrance to Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi. Alexandra Malmed, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2023 The collapse of the Anasazi occurred in a single generation. Wade Davis, Rolling Stone, 3 Sep. 2023 About an hour away in Santa Fe, stay at Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection, Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, or Inn of the Five Graces. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 29 June 2023 Stay at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, Santuario by La Fonda, or the Inn of the Five Graces for luxurious accommodations in Santa Fe. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 24 May 2023 What many visitors might not know is that Horseshoe Bend is just one part of a canyon where tribes — the Anasazi, the Paiute, and the Diné (Navajo) — once grew crops, hunted, and lived and died for centuries. Jim Kristofic, Travel + Leisure, 13 Apr. 2023

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

Word History


Navajo anaasází, literally, enemy ancestors

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Anasazi was in 1936

Dictionary Entries Near Anasazi

Cite this Entry

“Anasazi.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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