tribal

adjective
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

tribal

noun

Definition of tribal (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from tribal

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for tribal

Synonyms: Adjective

ethnic, ethnical, racial

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

Liberal democracy cannot survive an aggressively tribal culture. WSJ, "It’s Hard to See Democracy Coexisting With Tribalism," 7 Nov. 2018 SE Menil Collection Permanent collection of John and Dominique de Menil includes art from antiquity, the Byzantine world, tribal cultures and the 20th century. Ana Khan, Houston Chronicle, "Local museums entertain, educate," 9 May 2018 In 1887, the U.S. government moved to divide up and allot all tribal land—giving it to men, despite the fact that the Crow (like many other tribes, Red Star notes) a matriarchal society. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "Wendy Red Star's New Exhibition Is Part Historical Corrective, Part Ghost Story," 2 Mar. 2019 Boundaries must be drawn and tribal membership policed. Ezra Klein, Vox, "The political tribalism of Andrew Sullivan," 11 Dec. 2018 Museum staff and members of an advisory committee in 2015 began traveling around the country and meeting with tribal leaders and military veterans to solicit their input on the memorial. Author: Hannah Natanson, Anchorage Daily News, "Design chosen for first national monument to Native American veterans," 27 June 2018 The venture world tends to involve a lot of tribal knowledge traded among tight fraternal networks. Jo Piazza, Marie Claire, "Hatched at Twitter," 12 Feb. 2019 The same is likely true for more specific programs such as tribal ones that serve Native Americans or those that serve the elderly. Bryce Covert, Glamour, "“At What Point Do We Have to Start Shutting Down?” Domestic Violence Shelters Struggle to Survive the Government Shutdown," 14 Jan. 2019 Henrietta LoydCazenove + LoydShe’ll arrange art tours in Cape Town, meetings with politicos in Ethiopia, and safaris through tribal regions of Kenya. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The boys can’t really be faulted for not being able to decipher the words of the song—because the movement, and its anthem, is meant to be pan-tribal, to inspire unity among Native nations, most renditions of the song do not translate it into words. Rebecca Bengal, Vogue, "The Power of Nathan Phillips’s Song," 21 Jan. 2019 Indeed, all the angry tribals are asking is that the government respect its own laws and undertakings. The Economist, "Stone-carving villagers make Indian officials jittery," 7 June 2018 Some tribals are Hindu and others Christian, but many persist in forms of worship that predate both religions—such as erecting large stones to mark undertakings of great significance. The Economist, "Stone-carving villagers make Indian officials jittery," 7 June 2018 At tribal, Bradley spoke highly of how great everyone at Naviti has been getting along; that got some eye rolls. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Who was voted off 'Survivor' this week? (April 4) Did Mason's Angela Perkins advance?," 4 Apr. 2018 At Ghost Island, Kellyn was offered a 50/50 chance at a secret advantage but declined as there was also a 50/50 chance at losing her vote in the next tribal. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Who was voted off 'Survivor' this week? (April 25) Did Mason's Angela Perkins advance?," 25 Apr. 2018 But tribalism ultimately couldn’t save Pruitt from himself Being openly tribal has served Scott Pruitt well so far in his career, earning him the iron-clad support of industry, the far right, and Donald Trump alike. David Roberts, Vox, "Tribalism fueled Scott Pruitt’s rise to power — and the scandals that came with it," 5 July 2018 At Ghost Island, Kellyn was offered a 50/50 chance at a secret advantage but declined as there was also a 50/50 chance at losing her vote in the next tribal. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Who was voted off 'Survivor' this week? (April 25) Did Mason's Angela Perkins advance?," 25 Apr. 2018 At Ghost Island, Kellyn was offered a 50/50 chance at a secret advantage but declined as there was also a 50/50 chance at losing her vote in the next tribal. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Who was voted off 'Survivor' this week? (April 25) Did Mason's Angela Perkins advance?," 25 Apr. 2018

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

Adjective

1632, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1953, in the meaning defined above

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Dictionary Entries near tribal

triazolyl

trib

tribady

tribal

tribalism

tribalist

tribalistic

Statistics for tribal

Last Updated

24 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tribal

The first known use of tribal was in 1632

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More Definitions for tribal

tribal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of tribal

: of or relating to a tribe or tribes

tribal

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

Kids Definition of tribal

: relating to a tribe a tribal custom

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More from Merriam-Webster on tribal

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tribal

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tribal

Spanish Central: Translation of tribal

Nglish: Translation of tribal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tribal for Arabic Speakers

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