ab·​orig·​i·​nal | \ ˌa-bə-ˈrij-nəl How to pronounce aboriginal (audio) , -ˈri-jə-nᵊl \

Definition of aboriginal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being the first or earliest known of its kind present in a region aboriginal forests aboriginal rocks
2 : of or relating to the people who have been in a region from the earliest time : of or relating to aborigines aboriginal languages aboriginal tribes/customs/art specifically, often capitalized : of or relating to the indigenous peoples of Australia



Definition of aboriginal (Entry 2 of 2)

2 often capitalized : aborigine sense 2

Other Words from aboriginal


aboriginally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for aboriginal

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for aboriginal


native, indigenous, endemic, aboriginal mean belonging to a locality. native implies birth or origin in a place or region and may suggest compatibility with it. native tribal customs indigenous applies to that which is not only native but which, as far as can be determined, has never been introduced or brought from elsewhere. indigenous plants endemic implies being peculiar to a region. a disease endemic in Africa aboriginal implies having no known others preceding in occupancy of a particular region. the aboriginal peoples of Australia

Examples of aboriginal in a Sentence

Adjective the aboriginal peoples of Australia the aboriginal peoples of northern Alaska are known as Inupiats, which in their language literally means “real people”
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Once an ancient aboriginal trail, the path became a well-trodden byway for the workmen who built the Gilded Age mansions. Amy Gamerman, WSJ, 24 May 2022 Lake has travelled to Australia to learn from aboriginal practitioners. The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2022 Cathy Freeman represented aboriginal Australia in Sydney in 2000. Amy Bass, CNN, 4 Feb. 2022 Between the early 1910s and the 1970s, children of aboriginal descent were removed from their homes and families by the federal and state government, as well as by churches. Britt Clennett, ABC News, 11 Jan. 2022 Their aboriginal lands include parts of the Salt Lake, Cache Valley, and into parts of Idaho and Wyoming, Parry said. The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Jan. 2022 The kidnapping and deportation of biracial children by Belgium under colonial rule echo policies against Indigenous and aboriginal children in other countries like Australia, Canada, and the United States. New York Times, 3 Nov. 2021 Mining accidents happen – in Australia in 2020 a mining giant, Rio Tinto, blasted and destroyed a 46,000 year-old sacred cave that was rich in aboriginal artefacts. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 7 Oct. 2021 Mesopotamia began to emerge in force around 3400 BC, but aboriginal civilization in Australia predates it by tens of thousands of years. Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those clauses were removed in the 1960s, leaving no mention of aboriginals at all. The Economist, 5 July 2018 These people are too far away to show a direct link between them and the Clovis in such a way that indicates the Clovis being the aboriginals of South America. Adam Rutherford, The Atlantic, 3 Oct. 2017 The students paddled and portaged through the park, following the routes once traveled by aboriginals and French-Canadian voyageurs. Daily Southtown, 30 Aug. 2017 Our criminals built nice roads in Australia but aboriginals keep using them as a bed. Alan Feuer And Jeremy W. Peters, New York Times, 2 June 2017 Pay up, and the British Navy will keep the Frenchmen, pirates, and aboriginals away. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 15 May 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aboriginal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of aboriginal


1650, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aboriginal


aborigine + -al entry 1


noun derivative of aboriginal entry 1

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The first known use of aboriginal was in 1650

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Cite this Entry

“Aboriginal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aboriginal. Accessed 16 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for aboriginal


ab·​orig·​i·​nal | \ ˌa-bə-ˈri-jə-nᵊl How to pronounce aboriginal (audio) \

Kids Definition of aboriginal

1 : being the first of its kind in a region aboriginal plants
2 : of or relating to the original people living in a region

More from Merriam-Webster on aboriginal

Nglish: Translation of aboriginal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aboriginal for Arabic Speakers


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