\ 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

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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

Meanwhile, the cheerleaders now roam the streets as an Amazonian tribe of warrior women. Devan Coggan,, "In Netflix's Daybreak, high school is a post-apocalyptic hell," 12 Sep. 2019 The style of dress at Nigerian occasions will vary, depending on the tribe of the celebrants. Adenike Olanrewaju, New York Times, "The Fabric of Nigerian Weddings," 23 Aug. 2019 Ota Benga belonged to a tribe of Pygmies whom the Belgians had slaughtered in the Congo. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, "When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist," 19 Aug. 2019 Making the most of this resurgence is a new tribe of craft gin entrepreneurs. Sangeeta Tanwar, Quartz India, "New-age distillers are nudging Indians to uncork their very own “gin from the bottle”," 8 Aug. 2019 The answer to one kind of tribalism is not forming another tribe of our own. Elif Shafak, Quartz, "Nationalism is thriving using the very mechanism it denounces," 6 Aug. 2019 The division between the tribes of yeast-eaters and cake-eaters is absolute and irreconcilable. The Economist, "How donuts fuelled the American Dream," 26 July 2019 Castro planned to speak publicly about his proposals on Saturday in Iowa at the Meskwaki Settlement east of Des Moines to a tribe that is part of the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi. Bill Lambrecht,, "Castro outflanks Democratic rivals with plan for Native Americans," 26 July 2019 But the idea is that there's a tribe of cats, called Jellicles, that once a year hold a ball to decide which cat will ascend and receive new life. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Everything You Need to Know About the 'Cats' Movie," 18 July 2019

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

15 Sep 2019

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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
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

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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).


recurring in steady succession

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