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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from aboriginal


aboriginally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for aboriginal

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 Learn about Australia’s aboriginal people at the Tjapukai Cultural Park, with tours, entertainment, dining, and historical information. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "The Best Places to Travel in April," 12 Feb. 2020 Australians can go back to England and leave the land to the aboriginal people, the French can leave Reunion, and the Portuguese can leave Brazil. Boniface Mwangi, Quartz, "If Israelis have the right of return, we should extend that right to all native people," 18 Sep. 2019 Her reflections were in part sparked by her encounters with Australia’s aboriginal communities, where, Davidson notes, women had more power before colonization changed the cultural fabric of these societies. Mélissa Godin, Time, "7 Female Trekkers Who Helped Reclaim Nature, One Step at a Time," 28 Feb. 2020 After democracy was restored in 1985, Brazil got a new constitution that codified indigenous rights, including the right to aboriginal homelands. Aline A. Carrara, The Conversation, "Indigenous people may be the Amazon’s last hope," 27 Feb. 2020 Much of Australia native Patty Mills’ off-the-court life involves advocacy for his Torres Strait and aboriginal culture. Tom Orsborn, ExpressNews.com, "Drawing charges in blood of Spurs’ Derrick White," 18 Jan. 2020 One grandmother belongs to Taiwan’s Paiwan aboriginal group, famed for their intricate wood and slate carvings. Time, "Here's What's at Stake in Taiwan's Presidential Election," 6 Jan. 2020 Among the patchwork of neighborhoods known as Sydney’s Inner West, Redfern is a singular area that’s home to an eclectic array of aboriginal street art. Brandon Presser, Condé Nast Traveler, "Aboriginal Australian Sites You Can See Up Close," 25 Oct. 2019 Australia Next year marks the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage to Australia, sparking maritime celebrations and the returning of aboriginal artifacts from overseas. Fortune, "Your 2020 Road Map: The Best Travel Destinations for Every Season of the Coming Year," 21 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those clauses were removed in the 1960s, leaving no mention of aboriginals at all. The Economist, "Australia’s states offer to make treaties with aboriginals," 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, "A New History of the First Peoples in the Americas," 3 Oct. 2017 The students paddled and portaged through the park, following the routes once traveled by aboriginals and French-Canadian voyageurs. Daily Southtown, "Community news," 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, "Fringe Groups Revel as Protests Turn Violent," 2 June 2017 Pay up, and the British Navy will keep the Frenchmen, pirates, and aboriginals away. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "We Could Have Been Canada," 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aboriginal

Time Traveler for aboriginal

Time Traveler

The first known use of aboriginal was in 1650

See more words from the same year

Statistics for aboriginal

Last Updated

13 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aboriginal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aboriginal. Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aboriginal

What made you want to look up aboriginal? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!