in·​dig·​e·​nous | \ in-ˈdi-jə-nəs How to pronounce indigenous (audio) \

Essential Meaning of indigenous

: produced, living, or existing naturally in a particular region or environment He grows a wide variety of both indigenous [=native] and exotic plants. an indigenous culture/language There are several indigenous groups that still live in the area.

Full Definition of indigenous

1a : produced, growing, living, or occurring natively or naturally in a particular region or environment indigenous plants the indigenous culture
b Indigenous or less commonly indigenous : of or relating to the earliest known inhabitants of a place and especially of a place that was colonized by a now-dominant group Indigenous peoples
2 : innate, inborn

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Other Words from indigenous

indigenously adverb
indigenousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for indigenous



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Choose the Right Synonym for indigenous

native, indigenous, endemic, aboriginal mean belonging to a locality. native implies birth or origin in a place or region and may suggest compatibility with it. native tribal customs indigenous applies to that which is not only native but which, as far as can be determined, has never been introduced or brought from elsewhere. indigenous plants endemic implies being peculiar to a region. a disease endemic in Africa aboriginal implies having no known others preceding in occupancy of a particular region. the aboriginal peoples of Australia

Examples of indigenous in a Sentence

Viking invaders quickly subdued the indigenous population, known as the Picts. — Jared M. Diamond, Collapse, 2005 Unlike France, Italy relies on dozens of indigenous regional grape varieties for its prodigious range of wines. — Gerald Asher, Gourmet, September 2002 Though Gilded Age architecture was not indigenous to America, at least it was borrowed from belle epoque Europe, from which much of America's late-nineteenth-century culture evolved. — Robert D. Kaplan, An Empire Wilderness, 1988 There are several indigenous groups that still live in the area. the culture of the indigenous people of that country
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Recent Examples on the Web For three decades this influential alt-rock quartet from Mexico has weaved colorful elements of rock, punk, electronica and indigenous folk music into a dreamcoat of ambitious musicality and humanity. Ben Crandell,, 8 Oct. 2021 Here is a clear snapshot of what Croatia can do with some with these indigenous varieties, truly suited to this growing environment. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 7 Oct. 2021 Buddhism’s approach on the whole was gentle, and indigenous Chinese versions of it eventually flourished. Perry Link, The New York Review of Books, 6 Oct. 2021 To benefit from data sharing, policymakers must normalize approaches where African government agencies, indigenous companies, NGOs, and universities can harness data for development objectives, while protecting privacy. Daniel Akinmade Emejulu, Quartz, 5 Oct. 2021 Meanwhile indigenous people, who make up 5% of the global population, accounted for a third of the victims reported by Global Witness. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2021 The site and an outreach campaign to promote it will be in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and several indigenous languages of Central America., 13 Sep. 2021 Now the steward of this new Spanish identity, Rosalía entered the Latin music market whose millions of Spanish-speaking listeners are a product of a legacy in which Spain erased indigenous languages and imposed its own. Michelle Santiago Cortés,, 29 July 2021 The ads -- running in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras -- are in Spanish and five indigenous languages. Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, 14 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'indigenous.' 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 indigenous

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for indigenous

Late Latin indigenus, from Latin indigena, noun, native, from Old Latin indu, endo in, within + Latin gignere to beget — more at end-, kin

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The first known use of indigenous was in 1632

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Indigenous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for indigenous


in·​dig·​e·​nous | \ in-ˈdi-jə-nəs How to pronounce indigenous (audio) \

Kids Definition of indigenous

: living, existing, or produced originally or naturally in a particular region or environment : native


in·​dig·​e·​nous | \ in-ˈdij-ə-nəs How to pronounce indigenous (audio) \

Medical Definition of indigenous

1 : having originated in and being produced, growing, or living naturally in a particular region or environment a disease indigenous to the tropics colonization by small numbers of indigenous enteric bacteria— C. M. Kunin et al.
2 : being inborn or innate a type of behavior that is indigenous to human beings

Other Words from indigenous

indigenously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on indigenous

Nglish: Translation of indigenous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of indigenous for Arabic Speakers


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