Definition of Penutian in English:



  • Relating to or denoting a proposed superfamily or phylum of North American languages including Chinook, Klamath, and Nez Percé, most of which are now extinct or nearly so. Some scholars include certain living languages of Central and South America, principally Mayan and Mapuche, in this group.

    • ‘Some linguists have categorized it as a Penutian language.’
    • ‘The Penutian language group of Western America is related to the languages of the Maya and the Zoque of Mesoamerica.’
    • ‘They speak a Sahaptian dialect of the Penutian language family, which is common among other Plateau groups in the mid-Columbia River region.’


mass noun
  • The Penutian family of languages.

    • ‘The Costanoans (which means "coast people" in Spanish) spoke Penutian and lived along California's Central Coast.’
    • ‘Eventually, the people who spoke Penutian arrived.’


From pen and uti, words for ‘two’ in two groups of Penutian languages + -an.