in·​dig·​e·​nous | \ in-ˈdi-jə-nəs How to pronounce indigenous (audio) \

Essential Meaning of indigenous

: produced, living, or existing naturally in a particular region or environment He grows a wide variety of both indigenous [=native] and exotic plants. an indigenous culture/language There are several indigenous groups that still live in the area.

Full Definition of indigenous

1a : produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment indigenous plants the indigenous culture
b Indigenous or less commonly indigenous : of or relating to the earliest known inhabitants of a place and especially of a place that was colonized by a now-dominant group Indigenous peoples
2 : innate, inborn

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Other Words from indigenous

indigenously adverb
indigenousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for indigenous



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Choose the Right Synonym for indigenous

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 indigenous in a Sentence

Viking invaders quickly subdued the indigenous population, known as the Picts. — Jared M. Diamond, Collapse, 2005 Unlike France, Italy relies on dozens of indigenous regional grape varieties for its prodigious range of wines. — Gerald Asher, Gourmet, September 2002 Though Gilded Age architecture was not indigenous to America, at least it was borrowed from belle epoque Europe, from which much of America's late-nineteenth-century culture evolved. — Robert D. Kaplan, An Empire Wilderness, 1988 There are several indigenous groups that still live in the area. the culture of the indigenous people of that country
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Recent Examples on the Web Indigenous people occupied L’Anse aux Meadows both before and after the Norse, so the researchers made sure each piece had distinctive marks showing it was cut with metal tools — something the indigenous people did not have. NBC News, 20 Oct. 2021 Scientists are confident the wood artifacts belonged to the Vikings, based on their location within the settlement and evidence for modification using metal tools, which were not manufactured by indigenous people in the area at the time. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, 20 Oct. 2021 Urged on by this catastrophe to find a cure, Jesuit missionaries in Peru realized that the indigenous Quechua people successfully treated fevers with the bark of the cinchona tree. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, 15 Oct. 2021 Nicotine comes from the tobacco plant, which is native to the Americas and was used by indigenous people for its psychoactive properties long before European settlers arrived and took the practice back to Europe. Katie Hunt, CNN, 11 Oct. 2021 It is considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians and indigenous people. Roger Sands, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2021 In recent years, Native Americans and other groups have protested the idea of celebrating an event that marks the start of the colonization of the Americas and the displacement of indigenous people. Leada Gore |, al, 10 Oct. 2021 But the nation’s indigenous people were already here when Columbus arrived. Cameron Fields, cleveland, 8 Oct. 2021 For three decades this influential alt-rock quartet from Mexico has weaved colorful elements of rock, punk, electronica and indigenous folk music into a dreamcoat of ambitious musicality and humanity. Ben Crandell,, 8 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indigenous.' 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 indigenous

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for indigenous

Late Latin indigenus, from Latin indigena, noun, native, from Old Latin indu, endo in, within + Latin gignere to beget — more at end-, kin

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The first known use of indigenous was in 1632

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Last Updated

23 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indigenous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for indigenous


in·​dig·​e·​nous | \ in-ˈdi-jə-nəs How to pronounce indigenous (audio) \

Kids Definition of indigenous

: living, existing, or produced originally or naturally in a particular region or environment : native


in·​dig·​e·​nous | \ in-ˈdij-ə-nəs How to pronounce indigenous (audio) \

Medical Definition of indigenous

1 : having originated in and being produced, growing, or living naturally in a particular region or environment a disease indigenous to the tropics colonization by small numbers of indigenous enteric bacteria— C. M. Kunin et al.
2 : being inborn or innate a type of behavior that is indigenous to human beings

Other Words from indigenous

indigenously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on indigenous

Nglish: Translation of indigenous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indigenous for Arabic Speakers


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