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

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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 In 1930s Australia, a young aboriginal man named Gutjuk (Jacob Junior Nayinggul) who wants to save the last of his family is forced to track down his uncle, a fearsome warrior causing trouble in the outback. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 13 May 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, 21 Apr. 2021 Use Auberge Resorts Collection’s new Bishop’s Lodge, just outside Santa Fe, as your base to explore the vibrant City Different aboriginal art scene and beyond. Brandon Presser, Harper's BAZAAR, 30 Dec. 2020 Bryant pulled a card featuring Yhi, an Australian aboriginal sun goddess, during her interview about season two of the ABC series. Keyaira Kelly, Essence, 25 Nov. 2020 Starting at $100, these modern trinkets make the perfect gift! Decorate your walls with paddles (starting at $75) from Wendake, Quebec, made by an Indigenous Wendat mother and daughter team, and inspired by aboriginal design and tradition. Fiona Tapp, CNN Underscored, 13 Oct. 2020 That’s because as much as 99% of their aboriginal territory is managed by the Forest Service. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, 11 Oct. 2020 The people who can train this citizen’s army of fire-setters are aboriginal Australians. Richard Schiffman, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2020 And their one-size-fits-all approach lacks the kind of intimate seasonal and place-based knowledge that guided aboriginal fire management over the centuries. Richard Schiffman, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2020 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

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.

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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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Time Traveler for aboriginal

Time Traveler

The first known use of aboriginal was in 1650

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Statistics for aboriginal

Last Updated

24 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aboriginal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aboriginal. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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


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