\ ˈtrīb How to pronounce tribe (audio) \
plural tribes

Definition of tribe

1a : a social group composed chiefly of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry and language
b : a political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient Rome
c : phyle
2 : a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest
3 : a category of taxonomic classification ranking below a subfamily also : a natural group irrespective of taxonomic rank the cat tribe the rose tribe

Examples of tribe in a Sentence

a tribe of artists with wild hair and casual manners the wedding joined the two tribes together
Recent Examples on the Web Coast Guard ships, ferries and caiques, like the younger members of a tribe of large marine mammals, drew close in a circle. New York Times, 12 May 2022 For the Hemisphere Hopper Take a quick trip to the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea with Nornie Bero, who is from the Komet tribe of the Indigenous Meriam people. Alex Beggs, Bon Appétit, 16 Apr. 2022 The film features the native culture and music of the Hutsuls, an isolated mountain tribe of shepherds (the production employed actual members of the community to perform as extras). Joshua First, The Atlantic, 3 Mar. 2022 Each tribe could decide whether to participate but would be required to use the money to deal with the opioid epidemic. Geoff Mulvihill And Felicia Fonseca, Chron, 1 Feb. 2022 Generosity and giving thanks are common themes in many Indigenous cultures, expressed through ceremonies, dances and prayer recitations that are unique to each tribe but often honor a reciprocal relationship with nature. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 The bill calls for additional money to be dedicated to problem gambling programs — $500,000 a year from each tribe and $1 million more from the Connecticut Lottery, which already contributes $2.3 million annually. Russell Blair,, 26 May 2021 For example, Kenya alone has 43 tribes and each tribe has its own culture, which influences its design perspective. Nafeesah Allen, House Beautiful, 13 May 2021 Each tribe also has a unique history with Freedmen, whose rights were ultimately spelled out in separate treaties with the U.S. Sean Murphy,, 1 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tribe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of tribe

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for tribe

Middle English, from Latin tribus, a division of the Roman people, tribe

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The first known use of tribe was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tribe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for tribe


\ ˈtrīb How to pronounce tribe (audio) \

Kids Definition of tribe

1 : a group of people including many families, clans, or generations a Cherokee tribe
2 : a group of people who are of the same kind or have the same occupation or interest


\ ˈtrīb How to pronounce tribe (audio) \

Medical Definition of tribe

: a category of taxonomic classification sometimes equivalent to or ranking just below a suborder but more commonly ranking below a subfamily

More from Merriam-Webster on tribe

Nglish: Translation of tribe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tribe for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tribe


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