1 : having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment
Did You Know?
Indigenous derives from the Latin noun indigena (meaning "native"), which was formed by combining Old Latin indu (meaning "in" or "within") with the verb gignere (meaning "to beget"). Another term that comes from the indigena root is indigene, a word for a plant or animal that lives, grows, or originates in a certain area. Indigene is the older of the two; it has been used in English since the late 16th century, whereas the earliest documented use of indigenous occurred nearly 50 years later. Indigenous is used in scientific contexts to describe organisms and the habitats to which they belong, and in expressly non-scientific contexts, as in "emotions indigenous to the human spirit." Most often, however, it's used to describe the native inhabitants of a place.
"In all its forms, stone speaks of timelessness, solidity and quality. Indigenous local versions invariably work well as a construction material for houses or for interior surfaces and accessories." — Ben Kendrick, Country Living (UK), January 2017
"About 13 percent of Brazil's land had been set aside for the country's indigenous people based on the territories they historically occupied." — Chris Arsenault, Reuters (reuters.com), 19 Jan. 2017
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Word Family Quiz
Fill in the blanks to complete a word related to the Latin verb gignere that can refer to an ancestor or to a precursor: pr _ _ e _ it _ r.VIEW THE ANSWER
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