autochthonous was our Word of the Day on 07/13/2010. Hear the podcast!
Examples of autochthonous in a Sentence
an illegally introduced Asian fish that has virtually wiped out the lake's autochthonous species
Did You Know?
Ancient Athenians considered their ancestors the primordial inhabitants of their land, as if sprung from the very soil of the region they inhabited. Their word for any true-born Athenian, "autochthōn," itself springs from auto-, meaning "self," and chthōn, meaning "earth." Nowadays, the English adjective "autochthonous" is often used in somewhat meaty scientific or anthropological writing (as in "several autochthonous cases of fever broke out in the region"), but it was a "bready" context in which it made its debut. Observed English literary critic William Taylor in 1805: "The English have this great predilection for autochthonous bread and butter" (rather than French bread, one might safely presume).
Origin and Etymology of autochthonous
First Known Use: 1803
Medical Definition of autochthonous
1a: indigenous or endemic to a region autochthonous malariab: contracted in the area where reported autochthonous cases of malaria in the United States
2: originated in that part of the body where found—used chiefly of pathological conditions
Learn More about autochthonous
Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for autochthonous
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up autochthonous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).