\ˈtrīb \

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

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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

Some farmers want alternatives such as perhaps negotiating with tribes for water, said Chris Udall, executive director of the Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Falling Lake Mead Water Levels Prompt Detente in Arizona Feud," 7 July 2018 Several of them are: Victoria’s Labor government has been consulting with local tribes about a treaty since 2016. The Economist, "Australia’s states offer to make treaties with aboriginals," 5 July 2018 Residents have raised cattle, horses, ostriches and other animals, and Indians gathered acorns and traded seashells with tribes to the east. Roger Showley,, "Jamul-Rancho San Diego: Historic rancho served as seashell trading post, hosts new casino," 22 June 2018 Two of Boone’s sons were killed by Indians, and Boone himself lived to tell the tale only because of his uncommon ability to talk his way out of trouble with the tribes. Bruce Barcott, New York Times, "How Hunting Became a Macho Sport," 22 June 2018 The treaty is among more than 300 the United States signed with tribes. Washington Post, "Navajos commemorate anniversary of 1868 treaty," 1 June 2018 California leads the nation with 63 tribes that run gambling operations. Hugo Martin,, "Sports gambling may be coming to California — but it's unclear who will take your bets," 20 May 2018 But, the source said, persuading the state to negotiate with the tribes could be a difficult political task. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Supreme Court sports betting ruling expected to have no immediate impact in Wisconsin," 14 May 2018 The Army Corps in the Northwest started to work with tribes to design and site a village near The Dalles Dam. Molly Harbarger,, "Sen. Jeff Merkley tries to force White House to finish tribal housing work on Columbia River," 12 May 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.

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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

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Statistics for tribe

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for tribe

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

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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

: a large family

: a group of people who have the same job or interest


\ˈtrīb \

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 \

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

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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).


not any or not one

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