Definition of Powhatan in English:



  • 1A member of an American Indian people of eastern Virginia.

    • ‘He responded by attempting to have his book on the Powhatans banned in Virginia.’
    • ‘They engrossed the land seized from the Powhatans, switched from white servants to enslaved blacks in the labor base, and positioned themselves at the control point in the tobacco and slave trades.’
    • ‘Her people, the Powhatan, are unquestionably the caretakers of this new world.’
    • ‘Bacon's Rebellion marked an appropriation of the Powhatans ' external trade routes.’
    • ‘In 1622, the year that English settlers and Powhatans went to war near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in a contest that helped colonists acquire more land for tobacco fields, Johannes Neander's treatise on tobacco appeared in Europe.’
  • 2[mass noun] The extinct Algonquian language of the Powhatan.


  • Relating to the Powhatan or their language.

    • ‘Her book is by far the most comprehensive work on the Powhatan tribes.’
    • ‘Virginia enjoyed a long peace with the Indians from the end of the final Powhatan war until 1675.’
    • ‘Rather than a surprise execution, ‘Smith, all unawares, was perhaps being adopted into the Powhatan tribe, with Pocahontas as his sponsor’.’
    • ‘‘I have seen the death of all my people thrice,’ the Powhatan chief told John Smith, showing him the few villages and perhaps 5,000 people that remained from the 50,000 or 60,000 of the original society.’
    • ‘He continually, though unsuccessfully, pressed the Powhatan tribes to form a unified political alliance and sought to help the groups straighten their tribal organizations from within.’


Virginia Algonquian.