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

Definition of indigenous

1 : produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment indigenous plants the indigenous culture
2 : innate, inborn

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from indigenous

indigenously adverb
indigenousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for indigenous


aboriginal, autochthonous, born, domestic, endemic, native


nonindigenous, nonnative

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Artist Melissa Meier’s dresses are inspired by the pageantry of Brazil’s Carnival and the ceremonial garb of indigenous people and are designed to portray strength, beauty and female empowerment. San Diego Union-Tribune, "9 things to do in San Diego this weekend: San Diego Spirits Festival, ‘Black Life’ exhibit, Symphony at Salk," 23 Aug. 2019 Various indigenous peoples including the Ancestral Puebloans and the Navajo lived in these canyons for nearly 5,000 years. Washington Post, "Take a tour of this canyon for a less-crowded, more in-depth experience than at Mesa Verde," 14 Sep. 2019 Brazil shows the catastrophe that happens when nature and indigenous peoples are not respected. Benki Pyãnko, Time, "'It Is Our Very Governments Who Are Killing the Earth.' A Brazilian Indigenous Leader Speaks Out On Deforestation in the Amazon," 13 Sep. 2019 Under Trudeau, the party managed to reverse its grim 2011 showing by campaigning on a more left-leaning agenda: Calling for electoral reform, major climate action, transforming Ottawa’s relationship with indigenous people, and more. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "Canada’s election season has begun. It’ll last just 40 days.," 11 Sep. 2019 This imagery on our state seal has long been viewed by Native Americans and others as racist, symbolizing white supremacy and ethnic cleansing perpetrated against the indigenous peoples of this region., "Should Massachusetts replace its state flag?," 7 Sep. 2019 My host confirmed this observation; the Dominican Republic is a true melting pot of Taíno, the Caribbean’s indigenous people, European, and African peoples. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: A lesson on identity politics from the Dominican Republic," 5 Sep. 2019 That estimate includes the entomology collection, which stored 5 million specimens, and the native cultures collection, which included artifacts from Brazil’s indigenous peoples. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Brazil’s National Museum Hopes to Partially Reopen in 2022," 3 Sep. 2019 It is estimated that more than 1m indigenous people, comprising 400 different nations, lived in Australia before British settlers arrived in 1788. I.w., The Economist, "A haunting adaptation of “The Secret River”," 30 Aug. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of indigenous

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about indigenous

Listen to Our Podcast about indigenous

Dictionary Entries near indigenous








Statistics for indigenous

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for indigenous

The first known use of indigenous was in 1646

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for indigenous



English Language Learners Definition of indigenous

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on indigenous

What made you want to look up indigenous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!