Definition of Hokan in English:



  • Relating to or denoting a group of languages of western Mexico and California, considered as a possible language family. They include Yuman, Mojave, and several other languages now extinct or almost so.

    • ‘The Hokan language, a dialect of which is spoken by the Washo people, is apparently of great antiquity - it belongs to what is very likely the oldest of California languages.’
    • ‘Take, for example, a language like the Native American Hokan variety Atsugewi.’
    • ‘The Hokan languages are spoken in the southwestern and west coast US and in northwestern Mexico (Baja California and Sonora).’
    • ‘Tlapanec is the most recent addition, having been tentatively linked with Hokan languages earlier.’
    • ‘The Hokan languages include families of languages in Mexico and in the western part of the United States, especially in California.’


mass noun
  • The hypothetical Hokan language family.

    • ‘Although some Hokan families may indeed be related, especially in northern California, few linguists today expect Hokan as a whole to prove to be valid, and the term is often used as a convenient label to simplify one of the most linguistically diverse areas of the world.’


From Hokan hok ‘about two’ + -an.