Definition of aborigine in US English:



  • 1A person, animal, or plant that has been in a country or region from earliest times.

    • ‘He flatly denied that there was such a group of people on Taiwan and instead tried to convince the audience that the term ‘native Taiwanese’ should be used to refer to the aborigines.’
    • ‘What's really been great is just the sheer pride aborigines get from watching the film.’
    • ‘After 1730, the French competed from the southwest as La Verendrye and his sons developed a series of posts to intercept the aborigines travelling from the west to the Bay.’
    • ‘We were strangers to this sort of classification - animists - aborigines, etc, but we have learnt it from the English rulers.’
    • ‘From the 1960s to the early 1990s, the percentage of aborigines, especially from the Atayal tribe, among indentured girls in Taiwan continually increased.’
    • ‘Evidence for this impact consisted of legends from American aborigines and the Carolina Bays - assumed to be impact craters from the comet.’
    • ‘As far as anyone can tell the island was never inhabited by aborigines although there's evidence that they did live here when the island was part of the mainland some nine thousand to two thousand years before Europeans arrived.’
    • ‘The Galapagos archipelago possesses a rare advantage from its isolated situation, and from the fact that its history has never been interfered with by any aborigines of the human race.’
    • ‘As Noel kept up a commentary on his life in the aborigine reservations, he also showed pictures of how tin shanties and flimsy tents were the ‘homes’ of the aborigines for the better part of the 20th century.’
    • ‘From the pre-historic days of aborigines to the present day of robots and computers the ideas of managing available resources have been in existence in some form or other.’
    • ‘Nobody lived any more like aborigines in ‘geographical communities’: the community of the 21st century was one-touch, broadband and ‘virtual’.’
    • ‘The distant aborigines who did the trapping would trade with others who would take the furs to the bayside posts or trade with others again who traded with those who made the trip.’
    • ‘Senator Aidan Ridgeway is the only aborigine in the national parliament.’
    • ‘They co-exist peacefully with people of other castes and tribes that include the Yeravas, Kurubas, the aborigines called Kudiyas, the lower caste called Poleyas.’
    • ‘Most Taiwanese and aborigines speak both a local language and the national language.’
    • ‘The local aborigines had refused to join the expedition declaring the mountains to be the domain of the gods and preferring prison and death to a journey beyond the ‘mists’.’
    • ‘It is one of the Basque Country's major cities, a loose federation of fiercely independent regions, home to a proud, ancient people often referred to as the aborigines of Europe.’
    • ‘Although the aboriginal people are highly environmentally conscious and don't kill to harm the natural eco-system, the aborigines do hunt bears sometimes, attracted by the high profits, according to Huang.’
    • ‘We don't have like Guatemala, big ethnic groups of aborigines, but we do have nearly I would say 20,000 of them, living very isolated and with difficulties, and we work hard for them.’
    • ‘Unlike Australia, Mahathir said Malaysia ‘had a very good history of treating our aborigines, for example.’’
    native, indigene, local, original inhabitant
    native, indigene, aboriginal, local, original inhabitant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An aboriginal inhabitant of Australia.
      • ‘That a cause for violence by Aborigines was the taking of Aboriginal women by settlers was very much skimmed over.’
      • ‘How is the Tasmanian experience different to that of mainland Aborigines?’
      • ‘The Flinders Ranges provide a home to Aborigines, farmers, miners and pastoralists.’
      • ‘Kanyaka also became a distributing centre for food, blankets and rations for Aborigines in the area.’
      • ‘Since then he has made documentaries on the Vietnam War, the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, Castro's Cuba and films about Australian aborigines and local environmental issues.’
      • ‘They are spoken in the Torres Strait, and among Aborigines in northern Australia.’
      • ‘The film also inadequately deals with the situation confronting local Aborigines on the mission.’
      • ‘Therefore, to be recorded in folklore implied that the Aborigines also must have been around at the same time.’
      • ‘Common to much of her writing at this time is an appreciation of the culture and traditional life of the Aborigines.’
      • ‘Their study of the Aranda Aborigines of Central Australia is still widely quoted.’
      • ‘Even today aborigines in the outback habitually go walkabout to experience what they call the ‘songlines’, singing the old songs and tunes and thereby continuing the very essence of creation.’
      • ‘The art of making these rafts was practised by most Aborigines in Australia from the rivers to the coasts.’
      • ‘It recommended unanimously that all Australian Aborigines should have the right to vote.’
      • ‘The struggle over Australian history hinges on the treatment of Aborigines.’
      • ‘He was an Aborigine, almost unknown then in Australian first-class cricket, and he was alarmingly fast.’
      • ‘At this level I think the Australian Aborigines are correct with their concept of the Dreaming.’
      • ‘Australia's Aborigines also understand what it means to be vilified and dehumanised.’
      • ‘That same year the station was also selected for the distribution of rations and blankets to the Aborigines.’
      • ‘I expect that things were no better for the Aborigines of Australia.’
      • ‘It was all washed down with a delicious tea made from the leaves of the sassafras, whose benefits were once known only to the Aborigines.’
      • ‘It's in the middle of the Anmatjere region which covers an area of approximately 4.000 kilometres and has a population of around 1,400 of which nearly 80% are aborigines.’
      • ‘In Australia, Aborigines have already had several sets of remains reburied.’
      • ‘Lee said that as an Aborigine, he could sympathize with the Hakka people's status as a minority group.’
      • ‘How would it have first appeared to early European visitors and what might the Aborigines have had to say about it?’
      • ‘That the first marriage in South Australia between an Aborigine, Kudnarto, and a European, Tom Adams, was solemnised on 27 January 1848.’
      • ‘There he became active in the One People of Australia League and, reportedly, was the first Aborigine to join the Liberal Party.’
      • ‘It also had a number of Afghans and Aborigines living in and around the town.’


Both Aboriginal and Aborigine may be used as nouns referring to a member of an Australian Aboriginal people, but the term Aborigine is more common and is often preferred, especially in the plural


Mid 19th century: back-formation from the 16th-century plural aborigines ‘original inhabitants’ (in classical times referring to those of Italy and Greece), from the Latin phrase ab origine ‘from the beginning’.