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
Examples of aborigine in a sentence
the aborigines had no immunity against the raft of diseases brought by the invaders
Origin and Etymology of aborigine
back-formation from aborigines, plural, borrowed from Latin Aborīginēs, a pre-Roman people of Latium ◆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 Servius's 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.
First Known Use: 1593
ABORIGINE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up aborigine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).