ab·​orig·​i·​ne | \ ˌa-bə-ˈrij-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce aborigine (audio) , -ˈri-jə- \

Definition of aborigine

1 : a member of the original people to inhabit an area especially as contrasted with an invading or colonizing people
2 often capitalized : a member of any of the indigenous peoples of Australia

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Examples of aborigine in a Sentence

the aborigines had no immunity against the raft of diseases brought by the invaders
Recent Examples on the Web The bill’s sponsors insisted their motives were not racist, although, one of the sponsors, state Sen. Scott Beason, later recorded himself referring to black people as aborigines while wearing a wire for the FBI. Kyle Whitmire, al, 22 Nov. 2019 For long, appropriation of identities and assets by the privileged has been among the key challenges faced by aborigines across the world. K A Shaji, Quartz India, 30 Aug. 2019 In Kerala, one of India’s most socially advanced states, aborigines form 1.45% of the 33.4 million population (2011 Census), but have remained alienated. K A Shaji, Quartz India, 30 Aug. 2019 Markets just happened among Australian aborigines buying boomerangs from better-skilled bands hundreds of miles distant. Deirdre Mccloskey, WSJ, 7 Sep. 2018 The key ingredient is a thorny acacia shrub the aborigines prized for its medicinal properties. Hilda Hoy, Slate Magazine, 8 May 2017

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

First Known Use of aborigine

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aborigine

back-formation from aborigines, plural, borrowed from Latin Aborīginēs, a pre-Roman people of Latium

Note: The Latin name was variously interpreted by ancient authors, though modern etymologies tend to claim that the word is a parasynthetic derivative from the phrase ab origine, "from the beginning/first appearance." This would make sense if the word was formed as a generic name for "first inhabitants," though earlier Latin sources (Cato, Varro) treated it as the name of a specific people. According to Serviusʼs commentary on the Aeneid, Virgil intended "Aboriginum reges" in the line "aliique ab origine reges/Martiaque ob patriam pugnando uolnera passi" (Aeneid 7.180) ["others kings by birth, who suffered battle wounds fighting for their country"], " … sed est metro prohibitus" ["but the meter prohibits it"]. The lexical antiquarian Sextus Pompeius Festus, on the other hand, suggests a connection with aberrāre, "to wander off," as does the Origo gentis Romanae (late 4th century a.d.), which also proffers Greek óros, "mountain." None of these etymologies seem probable.

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The first known use of aborigine was in 1593

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Cite this Entry

“Aborigine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aborigine. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for aborigine


ab·​orig·​i·​ne | \ ˌa-bə-ˈri-jə-nē How to pronounce aborigine (audio) \
plural aborigines

Kids Definition of aborigine

: a member of the original people living in a region : native

More from Merriam-Webster on aborigine

Nglish: Translation of aborigine for Spanish Speakers


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