Definition of Tanoan in US English:



  • A small language family comprising a number of Pueblo Indian languages, including Tewa and Tiwa, and related to Kiowa.

    • ‘This is amply evidenced by both North American languages (such as Sierra Miwok and Tanoan) and Papuan New Guinean languages (such as Kewa and Yimas).’
    • ‘The other Texas tribe that probably spoke Tiwa or a form of Tanoan are the Jumano.’
    • ‘The Zuñi language may be connected with Tanoan, falling within the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock.’


  • Relating to the Tanoan language family.

    • ‘Contents also include a song, notes about the Kiowa and Tanoan Indians, information about articles for American Anthropologist, requests for information from various books about Indians, and a National Certificate from the Cherokee Nation.’
    • ‘He was of the belief that the Tanoan family is a remote branch of the Shoshonean, but thus far the relationship has not been definitively shown.’
    • ‘Their name for themselves is ‘Tuei’ and they speak southern Tiwa, a Tanoan language.’
    • ‘All other Pueblo languages are classified within the Aztec-Tanoan Phylum: within the Kiowa-Tanoan family are three Tanoan languages, Tiwa, Tewa, and Towa; the Hopi language is an isolate within the Uto-Aztecan family; and Keresan is an unclassified language isolate not yet assigned to any family within the phylum.’
    • ‘The Aztec-Tanoan phylum consists of two families: the Tanoan (Kiowa-Tanoan) family with three languages in the Southwest, including those spoken by the Taos and the Santa Clara, and one language in the Plains (Kiowa); and the Uto-Aztecan family, with about a score of languages spoken from the Plateau and California into Meso-America, with relatively late extensions into the Plains.’


From Spanish Tano + -an.