na·​tive | \ ˈnā-tiv How to pronounce native (audio) \

Definition of native

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : inborn, innate native talents
2 : belonging to a particular place by birth a native New Yorker
3 archaic : closely related
4 : belonging to or associated with one by birth hailed in his native Sweden as an influential dramatist— William Peden
5 : natural, normal a generosity that was native to him
6a : grown, produced, or originating in a particular place or in the vicinity : local native fruits and vegetables
b : living or growing naturally in a particular region : indigenous native wildlife of Australia
7 : simple, unaffected our feeling still native and entire, unsophisticated by pedantry— Edmund Burke
8a : constituting the original substance or source the way I must return to native dust— John Milton
b : found in nature especially in an unadulterated form mining native silver
9 chiefly Australia : having a usually superficial (see superficial sense 2) resemblance to a specified English plant or animal
10 capitalized : of, relating to, or being a member of an indigenous people of North or South America : native american



Definition of native (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one born or reared in a particular place
2a : an original or indigenous inhabitant
b : something indigenous to a particular locality
3 : a local resident especially : a person who has always lived in a place as distinguished from a visitor or a temporary resident

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from native


natively adverb
nativeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for native

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for native


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 native in a Sentence

Adjective people who are native to France She has a native ability to learn quickly. The island is home to several native species of trees. Noun She's a native of France who moved to the United States when she was 15. He wishes he could speak Spanish like a native. The plant is a native of Central and South America.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The length of his internment depended on the course of the city-state’s war with his native Venice. The Economist, "Home Entertainment Confined in prison, Marco Polo roamed across the world," 23 May 2020 Until the late 1800s the Great Plains were covered by endless acres of native grasslands, well attuned to the unique climate of the region. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "A devastating Dust Bowl heat wave is now more than twice as likely, study says," 21 May 2020 Planting native wildflowers can also help attract inhabitants. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, "Help Bees Thrive in Your Backyard with This Free DIY Bee Home Design Tool," 21 May 2020 Brookfield native Bartz stirs some social critique into her suspense. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "71 books for summer reading in 2020," 21 May 2020 And for more than a decade, the natural resource department has led restoration efforts like seeding native grasses as a screen around local soils and wetlands. Molly Glick, Popular Science, "The Great Lakes are higher than they’ve ever been, and we’re not sure what will happen next," 15 May 2020 But native aquatic foods are usually best for catfish. Bob Mcnally, Field & Stream, "The Beginner’s Guide to Catching Your First Fish," 11 May 2020 Evansville native Cody Parrent returns for his third year as Pacers Gaming head coach. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Pacers Gaming kicks off NBA 2K League season on ESPN2," 5 May 2020 Meng, a native New Yorker, who represents Queens, including the heavily Asian-American neighborhood of Flushing, has long been familiar with challenges affecting her Asian American constituents. NBC News, "Rep. Grace Meng on finding support in Congress while fighting Asian American bias," 1 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Next in the series will be Manzara Reed, a native of the Ivory Coast, whose offering will be a traditional rice and chicken dish. Luann Gibbs,, "Immigrant and refugee chefs share love of food with Cincinnati via meal kits," 21 May 2020 In February Mahomes, a native of Tyler, Texas, led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl victory since the 1969 season. Arizona Republic, "Patrick Mahomes to present top honors at azcentral Sports Awards show," 18 May 2020 Valenta, a 37-year-old New Zealand native, has been a paramedic for 19 years and has worked for the FDNY for almost half of them. Fox News, "'Every other day, I think I have coronavirus': Pandemic throws up new challenges for NYC paramedics," 9 May 2020 McDonald, a 50-year-old Dublin native, said in an RTE interview on Monday. Peter Flanagan,, "Sinn Fein Pushes for Power as Irish Parties Limber For Talks," 8 May 2020 One of those renters is Janee, a 30-year-old native of New Orleans, who spoke on the condition of not using her last name for fear of angering her apartment manager. Washington Post, "Which states are doing a better job protecting renters from being evicted during the coronavirus pandemic," 29 Apr. 2020 Instead, the 69-year-old Chicago native saw the hallmarks of the pandemic play out all over again. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "They Left the Coronavirus Behind—but Not for Long," 21 Apr. 2020 The 23-year-old Texas native and UCLA graduate is no newbie to the beauty industry. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Topicals Founders Explain How To Pivot When Launching A Brand During A Global Pandemic," 15 Apr. 2020 Benjamin Roth, a 27-year-old New Jersey native, looks at Passover as a time to pay homage to his late grandfather, Lionel Roth, who was also a Holocaust survivor. Jonathan Miller, CBS News, ""Think about all the blessings": Three generations face Passover amid the pandemic," 8 Apr. 2020

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for native

Adjective and Noun

Middle English natif, from Middle French, from Latin nativus, from natus, past participle of nasci to be born — more at nation

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about native

Time Traveler for native

Time Traveler

The first known use of native was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for native

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Native.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for native


How to pronounce native (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of native

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: born in a particular place
used to refer to the place where a person was born and raised
: belonging to a person since birth or childhood



English Language Learners Definition of native (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who was born or raised in a particular place
: a person from a group of people who were living in an area (such as South America or Africa) when Europeans first arrived
: a kind of plant or animal that originally grew or lived in a particular place


na·​tive | \ ˈnā-tiv How to pronounce native (audio) \

Kids Definition of native

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : born in a certain place or country He's a native Belgian.
2 : belonging to a person because of place of birth His parents speak their native language at home.
3 : living or growing naturally in a certain region native plants
4 : grown, produced, or coming from a certain place native tomatoes native art
5 : natural sense 3 He's a swimmer with native ability.



Kids Definition of native (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person who was born in or comes from a particular place
2 : a kind of plant or animal that originally grew or lived in a particular place


na·​tive | \ ˈnāt-iv How to pronounce native (audio) \

Medical Definition of native

1 : belonging to or associated with one by birth
2 : living or growing naturally in a particular region
3a : constituting the original substance or source
b : found in nature especially in an unadulterated form conversion of a native protein to a denatured protein

Other Words from native

natively adverb

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on native

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for native

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with native

Spanish Central: Translation of native

Nglish: Translation of native for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of native for Arabic Speakers

Comments on native

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!