Definition of Papuan in US English:



  • 1A native or inhabitant of Papua, or of Papua New Guinea.

    • ‘The exploitation of natural resources in Papua contributes massive sums to national coffers, but Papuans say they receive little in return.’
    • ‘Almost universally, Papuans feel that their right to self-determination was stolen from them.’
    • ‘In Papua, the missionaries saw the laid-back, no-rule, non-authoritarian lifestyle of Papuans as a sign of their primitiveness.’
    • ‘If the Papuans need training so that they can manage their own country, why aren't local and international NGOs providing it?’
    • ‘West Papuans feel that Indonesia is despoiling their country by logging and mining, and that they are getting a disproportionately tiny share of the financial fruits.’
  • 2A heterogeneous group of around 750 languages spoken in Papua New Guinea and neighboring islands.


  • Relating to Papua or its people or their languages.

    • ‘There is interesting evidence that Wallace was pondering the question of the origin of human races, an issue which had concerned him for many years and which confronted him in eastern Indonesia where the Malay and Papuan races met.’
    • ‘After 7 months the UN transferred power to Indonesia with the provision that a referendum be held to determine Papuan preference for independence, or integration with Indonesia.’
    • ‘The word merdeka - an important political concept - is also key to understanding contemporary Papuan culture.’
    • ‘Flassy said the transfer of power from the Indonesian government to Papuan should take place in six months.’
    • ‘The OPM itself was a rather loose organisation set up by West Papuan exiles with a headquarters in Holland and an office at the United Nations.’