trib·​al | \ ˈtrī-bəl How to pronounce tribal (audio) \

Definition of tribal

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or characteristic of a tribe tribal customs



Definition of tribal (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of an aboriginal people of India usually used in plural

Other Words from tribal


tribally \ ˈtrī-​bə-​lē How to pronounce tribal (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for tribal

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

  • nonracial
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Examples of tribal in a Sentence

Adjective a tribal solidarity that transcends all other loyalties or bonds
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In California, gambling — mostly on slot machines and blackjack — has been legal for two decades on tribal lands under compacts negotiated with the state. New York Times, 18 Jan. 2022 Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is instituting some of the highest water quality standards in the U.S. for all of the waterways flowing through tribal lands. Gregory Smithers, The New Republic, 17 Jan. 2022 The monthly discount is now $30 compared with $50 for those not on qualifying tribal lands. Nushrat Rahman, Detroit Free Press, 8 Jan. 2022 Eligible residents and families who apply by Dec. 31 can receive FCC high-speed Internet discounts through March 2022 through local providers — up to $50 a month for households and $75 a month on qualifying tribal lands. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Dec. 2021 The two species live in and around Glacier National Park in Montana; Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada; and Native American tribal lands in western Montana. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 21 Dec. 2021 In the last several years, an Amazon gold rush has led to more incursions on tribal lands. Georgina Gustin, NBC News, 19 Dec. 2021 O'Halleran's website features a list of campaign issues, including a detailed job plan that highlights issues such as training and education on tribal lands, investing in education, supporting community colleges, and workforce development. Melissa Estrada, The Arizona Republic, 19 Dec. 2021 Others are concerned about the damage being done to tribal lands from developers’ spades and drills. Randall Hyman, The Christian Science Monitor, 10 Dec. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The figure accounts for all line-of-duty deaths through Dec. 31, 2021, and represents law enforcement officers at the federal, state, county and municipal levels, as well as those in the tribal, campus, military and territorial sectors. Audrey Conklin, Fox News, 14 Jan. 2022 Meanwhile, Erika’s superb performance at the final tribal mirrored her gameplay. Joseph Longo, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 My lowest moment in the game actually provided me the most healing outside of the game, and that was my breakdown at the final seven tribal. Dalton Ross,, 15 Dec. 2021 And who knows what’s going to happen once the Luvu tribe breaks up and heads to tribal. Joseph Longo, Vulture, 20 Oct. 2021 Who wouldn’t take an opportunity for immunity, especially after you’ve been gone for two days only to head to your first tribal? Joseph Longo, Vulture, 4 Nov. 2021 Ua, however, offers the first live tribal of the season sparked by Sara, a healthcare consultant in Massachusetts. Joseph Longo, Vulture, 23 Sep. 2021 Instead of genuine urban-tribal rituals such as celebrating a $96,000 lottery win, In the Heights offers the choreographic equivalent of groupthink. Armond White, National Review, 11 June 2021 A few months later, that same consultant introduced Breckinridge to Dr. Carol Crouch, a Salish Kootenai citizen and Oklahoma’s state-tribal liaison for the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service. Nick Martin, The New Republic, 4 Mar. 2021

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


1632, in the meaning defined above


1953, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for tribal

Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tribal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for tribal



English Language Learners Definition of tribal

: of or relating to a tribe or tribes


trib·​al | \ ˈtrī-bəl How to pronounce tribal (audio) \

Kids Definition of tribal

: relating to a tribe a tribal custom

More from Merriam-Webster on tribal

Nglish: Translation of tribal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tribal for Arabic Speakers


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