pa·​poose pa-ˈpüs How to pronounce papoose (audio)
plural papooses
dated, offensive; see usage paragraph below : an Indigenous baby or young child of North America
chiefly British, sometimes offensive; see usage paragraph below : a baby carrier (see baby carrier sense 1) that usually consists of a cloth pouch, wrap, or sling for wearing around the torso
She carried her three-month-old tot Apollo in a leopard print papoose, while wearing an all-black ensemble.Rebecca Davison
The star gave birth to a daughter … and clearly dotes on the newborn, carrying her around New York in a furry papoose.Tamara Abraham
Usage of Papoose

The use of papoose in the meaning shown above at sense 1 is regarded as offensive. While use of the term to refer to a style of baby carrier is common, especially in British English, this use is also sometimes regarded as offensive due to its association with sense 1.

Word History


Narragansett papoòs

First Known Use

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of papoose was in 1634

Dictionary Entries Near papoose

Cite this Entry

“Papoose.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pa·​poose pa-ˈpüs How to pronounce papoose (audio)
often offensive
: a North American Indian infant

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