Definition of tribal in US English:



  • 1Of or characteristic of a tribe or tribes.

    ‘tribal people in Malaysia’
    • ‘Imagine an anthropologist visiting a remote tribal village to study its inhabitants.’
    • ‘The meat and blubber were consumed by members of the Makah Tribe and during tribal ceremonies.’
    • ‘This is a very important part of tribal culture and preserves a tribe's identity and beliefs.’
    • ‘The founding act of this recoding is the repositioning of the tribal object as art.’
    • ‘Instead, the country has different tribal groups found on the different islands.’
    • ‘Although it is officially discouraged, there is some hiring along tribal lines.’
    • ‘Since then, the world has been consumed with religious, racial, ethnic and tribal conflict.’
    • ‘Other peoples had military leaders, tribal chiefs, or headmen, but not officials.’
    • ‘In the middle regions a number of tribal languages of the Munda or Austroasiatic family are spoken.’
    • ‘Shared property rights or land use rights are held by custom and are generally tribal in origin.’
    • ‘Those who decided to stay in the East could select homesteads on former tribal land.’
    • ‘They were a tribal nation where each tribe was recognised and God was the head.’
    • ‘You and your people cannot be adopted into the Kiktu without the consent of the entire tribe, in full tribal assembly.’
    • ‘The idea of a wild chaotic continent wracked by poverty, drought and tribal warfare is challenged by images as well as words.’
    • ‘These tribal groups still do not identify themselves with the national culture.’
    • ‘This national event is about tribal and folk life in all its resplendent beauty and colour in the country.’
    • ‘This definition comes from someone who has lived among the rivalries of Northwest Coast tribal groups?’
    • ‘Indigenous, tribal, and peasant communities have been particularly hard hit.’
    • ‘The senior man in a family has the same kind of authority that tribal chiefs have.’
    • ‘The legal system is based on a combination of Spanish law and the tribal system.’
    state, public, federal, governmental
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    1. 1.1derogatory Characterized by a tendency to form groups or by strong group loyalty.
      ‘British industrial operatives remained locked in primitive tribal attitudes’
      • ‘It has left him with strong views on the tribal battle lines that are drawn around the health service.’
      • ‘The other factor is the tribal warfare that exists between the rugby playing schools of the area.’
      • ‘The loyalty is often called tribal, and it's true that it's one of the ways we define who we are and where we come from.’
      • ‘It is tribal warfare masquerading as something more intellectually respectable.’
      racial, race-related, ethnological, genetic, inherited
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  • Members of tribal communities, especially in South Asia.

    • ‘The analysts here are worried about the tribals turning communal.’
    • ‘In the 1960s, Bhanjdeo organized impoverished tribals and became immensely popular.’
    • ‘The screening is aimed at creating a public awareness about the nationwide fight of the tribals.’
    • ‘The move is designed to divide the tribals along religious communal lines and to create friction amongst them.’
    • ‘In Gujarat all castes were united, as were even Scheduled Castes and tribals in their opposition to Congress.’