Definition of aboriginal in English:



  • 1Inhabiting or existing in a land from the earliest times or from before the arrival of colonists; indigenous.

    • ‘There are seven distinct aboriginal languages, which are grouped into three language families.’
    • ‘A small remnant of Khoi and San aboriginal populations lives in the extreme northwest.’
    • ‘Around the world, 70 percent of uranium deposits are located on aboriginal land.’
    • ‘However, I note that a leading Canadian authority on aboriginal title stated that one dimension of it is its inalienability.’
    • ‘Now, the division needs to bring aboriginal perspectives into the entire curriculum, for all its students.’
    • ‘Few of the dramatic postglacial changes in global environment escaped the attention of aboriginal humans.’
    • ‘As National Aboriginal Day dawns Monday, the statistics for aboriginal youth remain depressing.’
    • ‘The Paiwan are surrounded by Han Chinese and other aboriginal groups including Rukai and Puyuma.’
    • ‘Mr. Wellheiser was adopted by a native Canadian family and has been extensively involved in aboriginal activities.’
    • ‘The main exception to this has been the relationship between the dominant French-English state and aboriginal peoples.’
    • ‘Two weeks ago, accompanying her as she questioned Premier Yu, were a group of activists from different aboriginal tribes.’
    • ‘The Maya and Garifuna demonstrate the surviving tribal traits of the aboriginal peoples.’
    • ‘It still gives the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs authority over aboriginal children's education.’
    • ‘In North America alone, there are many aboriginal cultures that no longer know a word of their original languages.’
    • ‘As a territory born out of the desire for an aboriginal land claims agreement, we are governed as a public government.’
    • ‘The site will be arranged to evoke the lands where the eleven aboriginal nations in Quebec live.’
    • ‘The shockwaves of that first gunfire are still being felt in aboriginal communities today throughout the country.’
    • ‘Handley said aboriginal health is not just a federal matter because a large and growing proportion of natives live off-reserve.’
    • ‘In ancient and aboriginal cultures, dreams were too important to he entrusted to mere dreamers.’
    • ‘The Committee is concerned that aboriginal rights of Native Americans may, in law, be extinguished by Congress.’
    indigenous, native
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    1. 1.1 Relating to the Australian Aborigines or their languages.
      • ‘It saluted Aboriginal culture, the Australian landscape and the country's rural traditions.’
      • ‘A quiet, deep pathos surrounds the story of each Aboriginal language in its individual encounter with the modern world.’
      • ‘In his book A Place for Strangers, Tony Swain argued that Australian Aboriginal peoples did not fit this model.’
      • ‘Some linguists predict that if nothing is done, almost all Aboriginal languages will be dead within the next decade.’
      • ‘Another proud first for Lismore this year was the raising of the Aboriginal flag beside the Australian flag’
      • ‘Her paintings and drawings offer a glimpse into the world view of an Aboriginal Australian who has emerged with a positive vision of the future for all people.’
      • ‘And much of this politics and conflict has involved the replacement of European names with Aboriginal ones.’
      • ‘Alice Moyle was present at the births of the new discipline of ethnomusicology and the new field of Australian Aboriginal music.’
      • ‘She puts her support in large part down to her capacity to speak in Aboriginal language.’
      • ‘Tasmania has a higher percentage of its population identifying as Aboriginal than any other Australian state.’
      • ‘He's troubled by the apparent influence of black American culture on Aboriginal kids.’
      • ‘Why should Aboriginal Australians be in a lesser position in respect of proprietorial rights than other Australians?’
      • ‘Its postwar collection is solid in nonindigenous Australian art and truly first rate in Aboriginal work.’
      • ‘I refer, of course, to the place of the Aboriginal population in Australian national identity.’
      • ‘Then, I realised the guests were not Indians, but rather Aboriginal Australians.’
      • ‘There has been a damning indictment of living conditions at a remote Aboriginal community by the West Australian coroner.’
      • ‘Students across NSW will be able to study an Aboriginal language under changes to the state curriculum.’
      • ‘It's from there that we have the word kangaroo which reflects the local Aboriginal language of that place.’
      • ‘It has been eradicated in most parts of the world, but is still occurring in Australian Aboriginal communities.’
      • ‘My fourth-graders started by studying the work of the Australian Aboriginal artists.’


  • 1An aboriginal inhabitant of a place.

    • ‘People who used to shout that the Abkhazians were no more than a handful of Islamic fundamentalists, or Russian stooges posing as aboriginals, now reluctantly accept that Abkhazia has an identity which has to be taken into account.’
    • ‘Women, youth, aboriginals [and] ethnic communities are all in there, but anglophones aren't mentioned anywhere.’
    • ‘In recent decades, Taiwan's aboriginals have endured neglect and discrimination.’
    • ‘My first expedition was a combination of walks 11 and 12, which according to the sketch map would bypass a settlement of orang asli - the Malaysian aboriginals.’
    • ‘According to a Canadian Press report, Canada's Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that about 4,000 aboriginals enlisted for the Second World War.’
    • ‘Use aboriginals (not natives) when an all-encompassing collective term is needed.’
    • ‘The aboriginals of Taiwan (the ‘natives' whose ancestors were there before anyone else arrived) number several hundred thousand.’
    • ‘Regulations under the Tribal Reserve Act, originally passed in 1956, allow only aboriginals to enter the tribal lands.’
    • ‘Peter Pond, in 1778, the first western visitor to spot the junction of the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers, noted deposits of heavy tar used by aboriginals for waterproofing their canoes.’
    • ‘She refers here to the aboriginals who are Argentinean but who are marginalized out of mainstream Argentinean culture to the point that many Argentineans are not even aware of their presence.’
    • ‘According to data available to the federal Public Health Agency, women make up 45 per cent of aboriginals living with HIV, while women make up 19.5 per cent of all Canadians with HIV.’
    • ‘Even though I've never committed a crime and don't have a criminal record, police have harassed me and physically harmed me - they seem to think all aboriginals are drunks or criminals or freeloaders.’
    • ‘With Winnipeg facing only marginal population growth, aboriginals can play a key role in meeting the demand for skilled and unskilled jobs, the minister noted.’
    • ‘Five per year have been allocated to the Makah Native Americans who live on Washington's Olympic Peninsula and the rest to Siberian aboriginals.’
    • ‘It is said that a fierce battle erupted as the Japanese soldiers hiked along the river toward the precipitous valley where they confronted the enemy, leaving six Japanese and 16 aboriginals dead.’
    • ‘Using the aboriginals ' own oral histories, the developer proved that the site had been designated sacred only within the past 10 years.’
    • ‘Once one of the provinces is run by aboriginals, what is to stop an aboriginal man or woman from holding the highest offices in the land?’
    • ‘Federal Fisheries Minister Geoff Regan said at the time he'd consult with aboriginals and other stakeholders in the industry before deciding this fall on implementing the report's recommendations.’
    • ‘The aboriginals, he wrote, ‘are the real swadeshi [indigenous] products of India.’’
    • ‘The assumption that aboriginals can simply be integrated into the overall free-market economy is a recipe for disaster, given the collective nature of most aboriginal cultures.’
    native, indigene, aborigine, local, original inhabitant
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    1. 1.1 A person belonging to one of the indigenous peoples of Australia.
      • ‘I was brought up in the Northern Territory with Aboriginals, and many of my closest friends are indigenous.’
      • ‘Even today the journey across the continent isn't easy, as Alice Thompson found when tracing her ancestors for her book, The Singing Line, the name the Aboriginals gave to the telegraph.’
      • ‘Most Australians agreed that a preamble to the Australian constitution must contain some recognition that Aboriginals were in Australia before the white man.’
      • ‘Because the common law has failed to protect the rights of Aboriginals the bill of rights for Australia should be promoted.’
      • ‘With its location in the Far North of Australia, soldiers posted to 51FNQR need to know how to effectively communicate with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.’
      • ‘The mining town of Coober Pedy in Australia got its name from the local Aboriginals.’
      • ‘Well, he started off as a young camel boy with Bill Wade, going into the centre of Australia counting Aboriginals to see how many lived out there.’
      • ‘For example, we were in Adelaide, Australia, and Aboriginals wanted Victoria Square to be dual-named.’
      • ‘So in my view, they were the people who led the change of history in Australia, towards Aboriginals being able to vote and have rights.’
      • ‘I have tried very hard to get some sort of understanding, ever since I met the first Aboriginals, and ever since I found out that there was a camp down at Deniliquin, that as a child I knew nothing about.’
      • ‘And the following day Cobblers Cove is filled from end to end with tanned Sydneysiders, wearing as few clothes as the Aboriginals when Captain Cook first sailed in.’
      • ‘When Australia's Aboriginals soaked Morton Bay chestnuts to make them edible, they were washing out a poison, castanospermine, that is today used to attack viruses, including HIV.’
      • ‘As I look around me in Central Australia I see dreadful apathy towards education among Aboriginals.’
      • ‘The only platypuses he came across were delivered to him by the Aboriginals and they decomposed in the heat before he could get them back to his dissecting bench aboard Challenger.’
      • ‘This results in Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders developing negative self-concepts and a growing sense of a separate identity.’
      • ‘No one ever said that coming to terms with what white Australia did to Aboriginals would be easy.’
      • ‘Long ago, in a time the Aboriginals of Australia called Dreamtime, many things were waiting to be born.’
      • ‘Early in the book, this exchange takes place between the author and his guide to the ways of Australia's Aboriginals, the remarkable Arkady Volchok.’
      • ‘The rumours circulated quickly around the notorious area known as the Block, which then became the scene of a nine hour battle between police and mainly young Aboriginals.’
      • ‘But that promise has come to naught, amid recriminations about his refusal to make a formal apology for the treatment meted out to Aboriginals by generations of white Australians.’
  • 2mass noun Any of the numerous Australian Aboriginal languages.

    • ‘Bondi is Aboriginal for ‘noise of tumbling waters’ and on a day when the surf is rolling in you can see why.’


See aborigine


Mid 17th century: from Latin aborigines ‘original inhabitants’ (see aborigine) + -al.