plural tribes
: a social group composed chiefly of numerous families, clans, or generations having a shared ancestry and language
: a political division of the Roman people originally representing one of the three original tribes of ancient Rome
: phyle
: a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest
: 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 Before the game, the Sycuan tribe presented a $50,000 check to the Mesa Foundation, the NIL collective for SDSU basketball. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Feb. 2024 Each tribe has a hierarchy with specific functions for each role–the Big Chief, Big Queen, Spy Boy, Flag Boy, and Wild Man. Cierra Chenier, Essence, 12 Feb. 2024 Paiute and Shoshone tribes also say the mine is being built on sacred land at Thacker Pass where more than two dozen of their ancestors were massacred by U.S. troops in 1865. Scott Sonner, Fortune, 9 Feb. 2024 The tribe would also be able to offer such games at a new casino site in north Alabama that could attract customers from Tennessee and Georgia. Kim Chandler, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 Roman legions brought that tradition to the Germanic tribes who concluded that if the sun appeared on Candlemas Day and a hedgehog cast a shadow, there would be six more weeks of bad weather to come. David Chiu, Peoplemag, 2 Feb. 2024 Or for something a little different (and less strenuous), take a walk alongside a friendly tribe of goats on a trip arranged by Beach Goats. Yasemen Kaner-White, theweek, 30 Jan. 2024 The track operators don’t want to cede to the tribes this new and substantial betting market. Alex Derosier, Twin Cities, 30 Jan. 2024 Indigenous youth explained how dwindling snowpack affects the flow of water and the movement of fish, impeding their tribe’s ability to honor their traditional ways of life. Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post, 2 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tribe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near tribe

Cite this Entry

“Tribe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a social group made up of many families, clans, or generations that share the same language, customs, and beliefs
: a group of persons with a common character, occupation, or interest
: a group of related plants or animals

Medical Definition


: 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

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