in·​dig·​e·​nous | \in-ˈdi-jə-nəs \

Definition of indigenous 

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

2 : innate, inborn

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Other Words from indigenous

indigenously adverb
indigenousness noun

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

The Measure 3 outcome may have been different if indigenous people had the power to go to the polls, or at least close the gap. Danielle Corcione, Teen Vogue, "Three States Approved Legal Marijuana During Midterm Elections," 7 Nov. 2018 Even sources with stalled growth—like hydropower, which has faced protest from indigenous people in Brazil, to name one example—still expect to see global growth. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Renewable Energy Will Grow Massively Across The Globe by 2023, Says IEA Report," 9 Oct. 2018 But are the indigenous people in America friends of Jamie and Claire's or foes? Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Sam Heughan just surprised fans with a sneak peek of what's next for Jamie and Claire.," 30 July 2018 Kwandibens, 40, has been taking portraits of indigenous people for the past 18 years. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Unprecedented Billboard Campaign Puts Spotlight on Indigenous Artists in Canada," 13 July 2018 Despite being a staunch abolitionist, Douglass used a kind of racialized othering against indigenous peoples similar to what white supremacists had used against him. Robert Newhouse, Teen Vogue, "Five Things You Didn’t Know about Frederick Douglass," 4 July 2018 Espinoza loved playing the guitar and singing traditional Peruvian music, which has roots in Africa, Spain and Asia, as well as in the country’s indigenous people. Anne M. Hamilton,, "Extraordinary Life: A Musician And Fixture In Hartford Area's Peruvian Community," 20 May 2018 First to the local indigenous people, and then to the Spaniards, who attempted mass conversion. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "A Vintner’s Quest to Create a Truly American Wine," 14 May 2018 The poverty rate rose to 59.3 percent in 2014, according to the World Bank, and 52 percent of Guatemalans living in poverty are indigenous. Daniel González, azcentral, "The U.S. deported this mother to Guatemala. It kept her 6-year-old son.," 2 July 2018

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

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

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Last Updated

12 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for indigenous

The first known use of indigenous was in 1646

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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 \

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

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Comments on indigenous

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by force of circumstances

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