Definition of Indian in English:



  • 1Relating to the indigenous peoples of America.

    • ‘For the Oneida Nation, Indian gaming is about self-sufficiency and concern for the seventh generation.’
    • ‘The British never solved the problems that had caused the war, nor did they develop a consistent Indian policy for North America.’
    • ‘Derick operated his first projector at the age of 10, and apart from 20 years as a bingo hall manager on the edge of Indian reservations in America, has been a slave to the silver screen.’
    • ‘Ironically, as hard and grueling as this brutal old Indian game is, lacrosse retained a reputation as sort of polo without the ponies.’
    • ‘Richard Gott writes on the deepening rebellion sweeping through Latin America and the key role played by indigenous Indian peoples’
    • ‘The Cherokee War consisted of three campaigns from South Carolina against the Cherokee Indian nations.’
    • ‘Born at Shongopovi, Second Mesa, on the Hopi Indian reservation, Tewanima chased jackrabbits as a boy.’
    • ‘Both the Sumu and Miskito languages are derived from the Chibchan Indian language family of South America.’
    • ‘This Indian Territory was where eastern Indian tribes such as the Kickapoos, Delawares, and Shawnees lived.’
    • ‘The extent of nationalist mobilization also differs amongst the various Indian tribes in America.’
    • ‘He has witnessed weddings featuring lone pipers, ladies' choirs and even a Sioux Indian ceremony for an American couple wishing to reflect their roots.’
    • ‘At their peak around 1492, the Indian population of North America had long been transforming the forest for agriculture and hunting.’
    • ‘Batista has visited six tribes, sleeping in their housing eating meals with them and relaying to them the teachings of his Carib Indian grandmother.’
    • ‘Much of the frontier became ‘civilized’ at the cost of shrinking Seminole lands and desecrating Indian burial mounds.’
    • ‘As with most Indian tribes in North America the lives of the Apache were destroyed as their life-blood, the buffalo were slaughtered by the whites.’
    • ‘Through Black Elk Speaks, the Great Vision helped stimulate a revival of Indian spirituality throughout North America.’
    • ‘There are two sources of native borrowing: the Canadian Indian languages such as Cree, Dene, and Ojibwa, and Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit or Eskimo.’
    • ‘The top link of the food chain in this region belongs to the polar bears and the Inuit Indian people who are indigenous to this world of ice and cold.’
    • ‘Many were genre scenes showing everyday Indian life featuring teepees and mounted warriors in traditional costume.’
    • ‘Much of the land along rivers above Klamath Lake was former Indian allotment land.’
  • 2Relating to India or to the subcontinent comprising India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

    • ‘And Muslim Pakistan still occupies Indian territory in Kashmir that it seized by force in 1948.’
    • ‘And it has endured; it is already specifically Indian and forms the basis of modern Indian culture.’
    • ‘Bangladesh and Indian border troops exchanged fire Thursday for the second straight day as tension rose on the entire border of the two countries.’
    • ‘Newspapers published by Indian communities flourish everywhere, and they invariably carry a section with matrimonial ads.’
    • ‘After the success of its gridiron coverage, Channel 4 turned its attentions to the subcontinent and the ancient Indian discipline kabaddi.’
    • ‘A spokesman for Pakistan further enraged Indian opinion by answering that India may have staged the attack upon itself.’
    • ‘It is no coincidence that these countries are among the poorest on the planet and include Sudan, Ethiopia, Senegal, Afghanistan and parts of the Indian sub-continent.’
    • ‘Despite fears of a war, many observers believe, however, that a concerted Indian attack on Pakistan is unlikely.’
    • ‘Pakistan described the Indian proposal as old and unworkable.’
    • ‘It does not, however, seem to have come out of the Indian sub-continent, where so many Greek, Latin, European and Slavonic words are sourced.’
    • ‘This pressure led the police to deport even Indian nationals to Bangladesh.’
    • ‘Is the idea that this may become a breakthrough for Indian film in America, dragging India's Bollywood film culture into modern day?’
    • ‘Persia, now Iran, was once a vast empire stretching from Egypt and the Danube to the Indian sub-continent.’
    • ‘There is never a dull moment in the great Indian sub-continent, is there?’
    • ‘That vast country has over a million troops on the ready after rebels thought to be from Pakistan attacked an Indian army camp in Kashmir.’
    • ‘The exposition is the first one to take Indian designers to Pakistan.’
    • ‘Such a struggle will find a powerful response from the urban and rural masses in Sri Lanka, in the Indian sub-continent as a whole and internationally.’
    • ‘The city's large Asian population makes it is easier to integrate refugees from the Indian sub-continent including Pakistan and Bangladesh.’
    • ‘In this context, it is critical to review the bitter experience of the masses in the Indian sub-continent, particularly in India and Sri Lanka.’
    • ‘The families of many of the Asian youth who were involved in the disturbances had originally come to the UK from the Indian sub-continent to work in the mills.’


  • 1An American Indian.

    • ‘Helianthus was first grown by the Aztec Indians who worshipped it, ate it, and decorated their wigwams with it.’
    • ‘The war began when some Seminole Indians refused to leave Florida, defying the Removal Act.’
    • ‘Pima Indians living in Arizona have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world.’
    • ‘So what did this young scientist find from his observations of the Navajo Indians?’
    • ‘The practice of smoking tobacco came from the native American Indians and the Carib Indians of Tobago.’
    • ‘There are similar accounts in Hindi myth, in the Norse sagas, and even among the Hopi Indians of Latin America.’
    • ‘They'd apply it to a Quechua Indian who doesn't speak Spanish.’
    • ‘The rest of its people are Indians, mainly Quechua and Aymara who are subsistence farmers in the mountains.’
    • ‘Before the Spaniards arrived, Arawak Indians farmed and hunted Cuba's fertile lands.’
    • ‘This battle involved the U.S.A. army against the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians.’
    • ‘To the Quechua Indians, respect must be given to Pachamama, the Incan earth mother.’
    • ‘The fans in England don't realize he's a Cree Indian from North America.’
    • ‘When I learned that my great-grandmother was an Onondaga Indian, I studied everything I could about the Iroquois.’
    • ‘Yet again Hollywood exploits another massacre, that of the Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee.’
    • ‘How many Americans know that Seminole Indians and runaway black slaves formed an alliance in Florida?’
    • ‘They were cut to pieces by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in a battle that has assumed legendary proportions.’
    • ‘Among Dominicans of African and European decent, Carib Indians maintain their own culture.’
    • ‘The Arawak Indians are the people first known to inhabit French Guiana.’
    • ‘The cliff palace dwellings built by the Anasazi Indians are awe-inspiring.’
    • ‘The Carib Indians who defeated the Arawaks also considered Qualibou a special place.’
  • 2A native or inhabitant of India, or a person of Indian descent.

    • ‘However, there might be differences in this phenotype between immigrant and native Asian Indians.’
    • ‘Pioneer Indian or Egyptian nationalists, Pan-Africanists, and Pan-Arabists raged against the European empires which ruled their lives.’
    • ‘It is not being extended to all Indians who are foreign nationals living in all parts of the world.’
    • ‘It is virtually a global issue and more prevalent in the South East Asian nations and wherever Indians live.’
    • ‘By language we are Tamils, by race Dravidians and by nationality Indians.’
    • ‘And there is strong circumstantial evidence that the Indians passed on their discoveries to mathematically knowledgeable Jesuit missionaries who visited India during the fifteenth century.’
    • ‘Gandhi encouraged Indians to boycott British goods and buy Indian goods instead.’
    • ‘There is also the massive and growing presence of Indians and persons of Indian origin at Harvard.’
    • ‘The second main group were foreign nationals; Indians, Singapore Chinese, Africans and others.’
    • ‘It is, for Indians, their most significant national monument; one they will travel great distances to see.’
    • ‘An irate listener called in to say that we were Indians because we were a special people descended from Lord Shiva.’
    • ‘Native Indians and nationalism, the subjects of these two books, are both topics highly relevant to globalisation.’
    • ‘I looked about me, aware that there were very few Westerners on the flight in comparison to Indians and other nationalities.’
    • ‘It was crude demagogy, browbeating nationalists and Indians through Kashmiriyat.’
    • ‘After all I thought that just as India was for Indians so were Indians for India!’
    • ‘The Indians, Burmese and Siamese all worshiped the snake as a demon who also had good aspects.’


Indian, meaning ‘native of America before the arrival of Europeans,’ is objected to by many who now favor Native American. There are others (including many members of these ethnic groups), however, who see nothing wrong with Indian or American Indian, which are long-established terms, although the preference where possible is to refer to specific peoples, as Apache, Delaware, and so on. The terms Amerind and Amerindian, once proposed as alternatives to Indian, are used in linguistics and anthropology, but have never gained widespread use. Newer alternatives, not widely used or established, include First Nation (especially in Canada) and the more generic aboriginal peoples. It should be noted that Indian is held by many not to include some American groups—for example, Aleuts and Eskimos. A further consideration is that Indian also (and in some contexts, primarily) refers to inhabitants of India or their descendants, who may be referred to as ‘Asian Indians’ to prevent misunderstanding. See also American Indian