Definition of Inuit in English:



  • 1A member of an indigenous people of northern Canada and parts of Greenland and Alaska.

    • ‘My background is Inupiaq Eskimo, which is the northern most tribe of Inuits in Alaska.’
    • ‘Marine mammals which have high levels of contaminants stored in their fat, organs, and skin are heavily consumed by Inuits as part of their traditional diets.’
    • ‘The Inuits of Alaska also tattooed themselves in preparation for death rituals.’
    • ‘It's a generic term for one of the tribes of Native Americans who live in the far north of the continent, but Inuits, like their Yupik neighbours, don't like the term.’
    • ‘In 1953, in order to make room for a new Nike missile battery, the US commander gave the Inuits but four days to evacuate their homes.’
    • ‘There are, however, major differences between the diet of Faroese and the diet of Inuits, and care must be exerted before one concludes that Inuit children are at risk.’
    • ‘The Pueblo Indians of the Southwest prayed for rain, while the Inuits of Alaska honored the whale and caribou that sustained them.’
    • ‘Anthropologists agree that Greenland's modern Inuits are descended from the Thule.’
    • ‘With archeological evidence suggesting some 4,000 years of continuous habitation, the Inuits of Igloolik have a native culture expressed almost wholly through an oral tradition.’
    • ‘South Asians in Britain, Inuits in Canada, Maoris in New Zealand, and Aborigines in Australia receive poorer care and less care than their non-minority countrymen.’
    • ‘The Inuits' traditional caribou skin garments protect against severe cold, and a cowboy's chaps protect against thorny vegetation.’
    • ‘Many of us in this country - Québecois, Natives, Métis, Inuits, Acadians - are citizens by conquest and not by choice.’
    • ‘But in between campaigns, the Canadian Inuits have stunning rates of suicide, substance abuse and disease.’
    • ‘The member of a very rare blood group most often found among Inuits of northern Canada.’
    • ‘‘They're the environmental sensors; they're in contact with the land,’ Herscovici says of the Inuits.’
    • ‘Igloolik has been inhabited by Inuits, referred to in the past as ‘Eskimos’, for thousands of years.’
    • ‘In the United States and Europe, this disorder is most common in Ashkenazi Jews, followed by Hispanics, Yugoslavs, Native American Inuits, and Italians.’
    • ‘Mercury is mainly present as methylmercury in fish and marine mammals, and their consumption constitutes an important source of exposure, especially in sustenance populations such as the Inuits.’
    • ‘Of the two types, the hepatitis B virus or HBV poses the greatest health threat and most affects Chinese, Africans and Inuits.’
    • ‘As with the cliche about Inuits having 20 words for snow, the Japanese have about 20 ways to refer to ‘self’, as well as nuanced honorifics that simply do not translate into English.’
  • 2The family of languages of the Inuit, one of the three branches of the Eskimo-Aleut language family. It is also known, especially to its speakers, as Inuktitut.

    • ‘The newly elected members of Nunavut's first legislative assembly are a mixture of young, old and many of them are able to speak Inuit, French and English.’
    • ‘The story about Inuit (or Inuktitut, or Yup'ik, or more generally, Eskimo) words for snow is completely wrong.’
    • ‘The infamous Eskimo snow words meme is spread by people who don't know about Inuit or any related language.’
    • ‘He quickly learns Greek and reads Homer before moving on to Hebrew, Japanese, Old Norse and Inuit, along with advanced mathematics.’
    • ‘While Aleut is considered a separate language, Eskimo branches into Inuit and Yup'ik.’


  • Relating to the Inuit or their language.

    • ‘Cree and Inuit patients have to be treated in Montreal because of a lack of medical services in northern Quebec.’
    • ‘As with the rest of Native Americans, the Inuit acculturation and assimilation patterns were more the result of coercion than choice.’
    • ‘He has been experiencing strange dreams at night, with images that seem to be based on the Inuit totem poles that dot the landscape around his home.’
    • ‘The first woman from the Inuit town of Iqaluktuutiaq to pursue post-secondary education, she developed a unique style of throat singing while studying at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.’
    • ‘Continuous-occupation Neoeskimo sites were defined by the presence of both Thule and historic Inuit artifacts.’
    • ‘First were short films and then TV shows, which were produced to preserve and enhance Inuit culture and language while providing gainful employment to the community of Igloolik.’
    • ‘In Canada and the United States, the term First Nations is used to describe the Indian, Métis, and Inuit populations, whereas in Hawaii, native Hawaiian finds favour.’
    • ‘In Inuit culture, as in any other culture, language acquisition seems to occur naturally.’
    • ‘Unlike Treaty Indians who are registered directly with Indian Affairs, Inuit people do not have such a registry.’
    • ‘Jacob Gronlykke's Heart Of Light is the first full-length and epic style feature film shot entirely in the Inuit language.’
    • ‘What they received was a recognition that they, along with First Nations and Inuit people, form a distinct group with protection under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.’
    • ‘I have suggested that there exists a range of signed languages, including an indigenous signed language, among the Inuit people of Nunavut.’
    • ‘Atanarjuat is a new film from Canada, apparently the first film made in the Inuit language.’
    • ‘The artists were to submit a work that would reflect one of three themes: celebrating First Nations, celebrating Inuit culture or celebrating the Métis culture.’
    • ‘To be sure, pragmatism - often cited as an Inuit trait - inclined the designers of the Nunavut government towards the conventional in establishing bureaucratic structures.’
    • ‘Nonetheless, government bureaucrats and scientists did not merely disagree with the specifcics of Dene and Inuit philosophies of wildlife management.’
    • ‘He expressed the opinion that the sign language used in Nunavut is a ‘real’ language that is rooted in Inuit history and culture.’
    • ‘I enjoyed the warmth of the hospitality in isolated Athabaskan Indian and Inuit communities.’
    • ‘No one knows just how many wolves were killed by government scientists or by Inuit hunters who prized wolf pelts for parka trim.’
    • ‘At the service, a Metis fiddle lament, an Inuit throat song and a First Nations honor dance added unique touches to the traditional wreath laying and playing of the Last Post.’


The peoples inhabiting the regions from northwestern Canada to western Greenland speak Inuit languages (Inuit in Canada, Greenlandic in Greenland) and call themselves Inuit (not Eskimo). Inuit has official status in Canada, and is used in the US as a general synonym for Eskimo. This, however, is inaccurate because the Inuit are not among native Alaskans (who speak Inupiaq, or Yupik, which is also spoken in Siberia). Since neither Inupiaq nor Yupik is in common US usage, only Eskimo includes all of these peoples and their languages. See also Eskimo


Inuit, plural of inuk ‘person’.