Definition of Mapuche in English:


nounPlural Mapuches

  • 1A member of a South American people of central Chile and adjacent parts of Argentina.

    • ‘The distinctive curanto oven is still used by some Mapuche on the island of Chiloé.’
    • ‘In the south of the country, there were many tomas (land seizures) between November 1970 and April 1971, resulting in confrontations between farmers, campesinos and Mapuches (local indigenous people).’
    • ‘During the period of military rule in the 1970s and 1980s, employment opportunities and working conditions were closely linked to the Mapuches' struggle to preserve their ethnic identity.’
    • ‘Because Benetton's land is well fenced in other areas and Santa Rosa was known among Mapuche to be unoccupied, the family believed the plot was available.’
  • 2mass noun The Araucanian language of the Mapuche, with about 400,000 speakers.

    • ‘Spanish is the main language, but a handful of native languages including Aymara, Mapuche and Rapa Nui are also spoken.’


  • Relating to the Mapuche or their language.

    • ‘After a month and a half, our time was up, and we sold the horses at Lago Rosario, a tiny Mapuche township.’
    • ‘The Mapuche Indians in Chile still sacrifice a white lamb without blemish as an atonement for sin.’
    • ‘As a boy Francisco would climb the hill and imagine the Mapuche warriors and the mixed-blood Chileans who came after them.’
    • ‘Toward the end of the 19th century, the government in Santiago consolidated its position in the south by ruthlessly suppressing the Mapuche Indians.’
    • ‘A majority of Mapuche town dwellers live as urban workers.’
    • ‘It is the land of the Pehuenche, a Mapuche people, who have lived there for at least 500 years.’
    • ‘In addition, Chilean speech contains many words adopted from the Mapuche language as well as much chilenismos.’
    • ‘There are also Protestants in Chile, and some Mapuche Indians practice their traditional religion.’
    • ‘Now, government and private interests will make millions out of this disaster turning destruction into plenty of cash which we can be sure will not find its way into any Mapuche hands.’
    • ‘The Mapuche medicine woman or machi (doctor, priest and pharmacist all in one) say that their source of livelihood is being directly threatened by the desiccation of native forests.’
    • ‘By spending the last four months living and teaching in a tiny Mapuche Indian village in Southern Chile we honestly thought we had learnt all there was to be learnt about the average Latino man.’
    • ‘Several Argentinean NGOs and indigenous Mapuche and Tehuellche groups protested in the courts - and won.’
    • ‘As a result, most of the indigenous groups were easily defeated by the Spaniards, though the Mapuche Indians successfully resisted the invaders.’
    • ‘Choike is the Mapuche word for the Southern Cross.’


The name in Mapuche, from mapu ‘land’ + che ‘people’.