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

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Other Words from native


natively adverb
nativeness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for native

Synonyms: Adjective

aboriginal, autochthonous, born, domestic, endemic, indigenous

Synonyms: Noun

local, localite, townie (or towny), year-rounder

Antonyms: Adjective

nonindigenous, nonnative

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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


people who are native to France She has a native ability to learn quickly. The island is home to several native species of trees.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

While learning about native plants, how best to attract butterflies to home gardens and the life cycle of butterflies, visitors can participate in live releases of butterflies into the garden., "Community News For The West Hartford Edition," 23 June 2019 The final sale of the season, offered by the Dos Valles Garden Club, will include garden tools and fixtures contributed by club members, plus vegetable seedlings, house plants, trees, herbs, perennials, succulents and native plants. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fallbrook Democratic Club receives Club of the Year Award," 20 June 2019 Without tourists to disturb the wildlife, native plants and animals rebounded, and even the local community grew stronger. NBC News, "After a year without tourists, Kauai's rugged coast reopens," 20 June 2019 In 1988, Bancroft was getting on in years and unable to lavish the care needed to maintain her extraordinary and artfully designed Walnut Creek, California, garden of cacti, succulents and native plants. Washington Post, "Garden Conservancy lets you peek at some private gardens," 18 June 2019 Get your hands dirty in the organic gardens, helping to develop community composting facilities and cultivate native plants, or building structures using bamboo and other local and sustainable materials. National Geographic, "Bali High School Expedition," 17 June 2019 In New Zealand, native plants don't always seed every year. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Rat infestation plagues New Zealand town," 17 June 2019 This type of low-maintenance landscaping is achieved by selecting plants for water conservation and plants native to your environment that are drought tolerant and don’t require a lot of upkeep. May Delgado, Houston Chronicle, "GHBA Remodelers Council: Experience low-maintenance living," 16 June 2019 Visit the woods, prairies or wetlands in the district preserves, which are home to diverse native plants and wildlife. James Krause, Naperville Sun, "Head to a DuPage Forest Preserve park, trail or lake and be entered to win a prize," 12 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Like the Jonas Brothers, Danielle is a New Jersey native. Elena Nicolaou,, "Inside Danielle & Kevin Jonas' Love Story," 5 June 2019 Sherman Blaszczyk is a New Jersey native who played baseball at Campbellsville University (1986-88) before joining the PRP staff as an assistant in 1990. Jason Frakes, The Courier-Journal, "Born to play baseball at PRP, Reed Blaszczyk hopes to go out with another state title," 4 June 2019 But Southern California native Kodi Lee might just be giving them all a run for their money. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'AGT' Star Kodi Lee Has an Unbelievably Inspiring Story You Need to Hear," 29 May 2019 While the New Jersey native is mostly known for her biting humor, Good Girls presents a different side of the actress, allowing her to show off her dramatic chops and giving audiences an entirely new appreciation for her talent. Kellee Terrell, Harper's BAZAAR, "Retta Wants Hollywood to Know She's Ready to Play the Femme Fatale," 11 Apr. 2019 In the lead-up to NYFW, California natives Kate and Laura Mulleavy will present their Fall 2019 Rodarte collection in Los Angeles, just a stone’s throw from where they were raised, and still live, in Pasadena. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Rodarte Will Present Its Fall 2019 Collection in Los Angeles," 18 Dec. 2018 South Jersey native Jeff Singer went undrafted out of high school and college, but the Phillies signed him after a stint with the Camden Riversharks in 2015. Bob Brookover,, "For Phillies, PNC Park has been a torture chamber | Extra Innings," 6 July 2018 The lyrics to the 1975 anthem, ranked as the New Jersey native's greatest song, was purchased at Sotheby's Fine Books & Manuscripts auction, Midori Tanaka, a company spokeswoman, said Friday in an email. Katya Kazakina,, "Springsteen's 'Born to Run' lyrics sold for $250,000 at Sotheby's," 29 June 2018 The oldest castmember in the group is 40-year-old New Jersey native and former undercover cop Steve Arienta. Brian Porreca, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Big Brother' Reveals New Houseguests for Season 20," 18 June 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for native

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for native

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

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More Definitions for native



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

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More from Merriam-Webster on native

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with native

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to take the place or position of

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