\ ˈtrīb How to pronounce tribe (audio) \

Definition of tribe

1a : a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations together with slaves, dependents, or adopted strangers
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

In 2017, in New Zealand, a Maori tribe won their case to gain legal personhood for the Whanganui River, which the group recognizes as an ancestor. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Can Rivers Be People Too?," 9 May 2018 The name Preakness started with the Minsi, a northern New Jersey tribe of Native Americans., "Racehorse Preakness, namesake for Triple Crown's middle jewel, elected to Hall of Fame," 9 May 2018 At first, Troise and his new hires were a tribe unto themselves within JPMorgan. Hugh Son,, "Wall Street’s Big Banks Are Waging an All-Out Technological Arms Race," 5 Apr. 2018 Their works simultaneously keep their culture’s traditions alive while proving that artists can break free from their tribe’s respective signatures and create pieces that are, yes, even trendy. Vogue, "Meet 8 Indigenous Beaders Who Are Modernizing Their Craft," 24 Apr. 2019 In the first, Rafa delivers the dowry stipulated by Úrsula (Carmiña Martinez), the matriarch of her tribe: 30 goats, 20 cows, five necklaces and two decorative mules. WSJ, "‘Birds of Passage’ Review: Splendor and the Grass," 14 Feb. 2019 Pocahontas and her tribe have never encountered the English before John Smith and his crew come to America, and yet, the Native Americans can all speak fluent English? 5. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "11 Disney Movie Plot Holes That Will Forever Be Annoying," 30 Jan. 2019 Glitter makeup is one of those polarizing aesthetic choices that are like a bat signal for finding your tribe. Allure, "Yes, You Can (and Should) Wear Glitter Makeup No Matter How Old You Are," 9 Oct. 2018 If partisanship declined as a result, so would pressure on voters to stick to their tribe. The Economist, "American democracy’s built-in bias towards rural Republicans," 12 July 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of tribe

13th 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about tribe

Dictionary Entries near tribe








Statistics for tribe

Last Updated

12 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tribe

The first known use of tribe was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for tribe



English Language Learners Definition of tribe

: a group of people that includes many families and relatives who have the same language, customs, and beliefs
informal + humorous : a large family
humorous + sometimes disapproving : a group of people who have the same job or interest


\ ˈtrīb How to pronounce tribe (audio) \

Kids Definition of tribe

1 : a group of people including many families, clans, or generations an American Indian 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on tribe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tribe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for tribe

Spanish Central: Translation of tribe

Nglish: Translation of tribe for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on tribe

What made you want to look up tribe? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!