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 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, "The 20 Best Places to Travel in 2021," 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, "Joy Bryant’s Role In 'For Life' Pays Homage To The Grandmother Who Raised Her," 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, "Shop this exclusive line of handcrafted Canadian artisan products at Simons," 13 Oct. 2020 That’s because as much as 99% of their aboriginal territory is managed by the Forest Service. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "California tribe offered solution to wildfire management. Was U.S. Forest Service listening?," 11 Oct. 2020 The people who can train this citizen’s army of fire-setters are aboriginal Australians. Richard Schiffman, WSJ, "Fighting Wildfires With Fire," 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, "Fighting Wildfires With Fire," 30 Sep. 2020 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 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.

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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 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

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