Definition of Arawakan in English:



  • Denoting or belonging to a widely scattered family of South American Indian languages, most of which are now extinct or nearly so.

    • ‘The group is in the Arawakan linguistic family.’
    • ‘Fanning out from Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti/Dominican Republic), Spaniards enslaved Arawakan and Taino-speaking ‘Indians ‘for mining and agricultural enterprises.’’
    • ‘This Karinya influence comes as a result of interaction between original speakers of an Arawakan language living in the Lesser Antilles and incoming Karina from South America.’


mass noun
  • The Arawakan family of languages.

    • ‘Rouse suggests that Arawakan and Cariban are more useful designations for these linguistic stocks.’
    • ‘Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, the native population spoke languages belonging to at least four major language families: Arawakan, Gê, Carib, and Tupi-Guarani.’
    • ‘The Tupí-Guaraní family of languages is next to the Arawakan in geographical extent.’