Definition of wigwam in English:



  • 1A dome-shaped hut or tent made by fastening mats, skins, or bark over a framework of poles (as used formerly by some North American Indian peoples).

    • ‘One day, when I was in Grade Three, my school teacher decided to use me as an example of how aboriginal people no longer live in teepees or wigwams.’
    • ‘In contrast to white people's extravagant ways, Indian wigwams are of high quality, comfortable, and very cheap to build and maintain.’
    • ‘The others were those who could not be at the grove full-time - due to work, home, or an aversion to sleeping either 80 feet up a tree or in a wigwam made of tarps set on a gravel logging road.’
    • ‘Small, single-family wigwams and pit dwellings are also documented.’
    • ‘The portability of Ojibwa lodging - the wigwam - enabled such moves to be made quickly and easily.’
    • ‘Each wigwam counted usually seven or eight persons, and these, together with their provisions, required the use of about twenty horses.’
    • ‘I keep dreaming I'm camping with this gorgeous woman, sometimes in army tents, sometimes in mountain tents, sometimes in wigwams.’
    • ‘I figured I'd make a wigwam when I came to that clearing.’
    • ‘A yurt - also known as a ger - is the Asian equivalent of a North American Indian wigwam.’
    • ‘The collective - all mums of children at the Steiner School in Fulford - first came together on a project to erect a yurt, the Mongolian equivalent of a North American wigwam, on St Nicholas Fields.’
    • ‘Small children weaved in and out of the wigwams, laughing gleefully.’
    • ‘Praying Indians were fined or punished if they did not work, committed fornication, beat their wives, or wandered between wigwams instead of setting up their own.’
    • ‘I liked the idea of living in it: a wigwam seemed a suitable home for a backyard anthropologist.’
    • ‘They are self-sufficient, with an outdoor kitchen and a wigwam with its own wood burner.’
    • ‘Since precolonial times Indians had made mats for covering the frames and lining the sides of wigwams and for sleeping or sitting upon.’
    • ‘The Sami tent, called a lavvo, has a circular framework of poles leaning inward like the teepee or wigwam of Native Americans, and a floor of birch twigs covered with layers of reindeer fur.’
    • ‘Accommodation links offer breaks in converted castles, churches, lighthouses and wigwams.’
    • ‘Within 20 yards is the first little info board under a Lodge Pole pine, and I learned ‘North American Indians’ propped up their wigwams with these, and so on for Spruce, Western Hemlock etc.’
    • ‘Last I heard, she's using the name ‘Rainbow Flower Love’ and living in a wigwam.’
    1. 1.1 A pyramidal framework of poles used to support runner beans, sweet peas, and other climbing plants.
      • ‘Planted to clamber up bamboo wigwams or trained up and over an arch, runner beans are pretty enough to grow in the flower garden and yellow, carmine splashed shelling beans are highly decorative.’
      • ‘Large varieties of sweet peas will need a sturdier form of support, either a wigwam or a row of garden stakes.’
      • ‘All varieties of peas and beans (except dwarf ones), and other climbers including cucumbers and karella, are best grown up in wigwams, which can easily be constructed out of canes, thin pieces of wood or other available material.’
      • ‘Make a wigwam or bamboo tunnel and sow peas or beans.’
      • ‘Annual climbers such as sweet peas can be supported by a wigwam made from bamboo or by twiggy prunings taken from coloured stemmed dogwoods and other shrubs cut back in March.’


  • a wigwam for a goose's bridle

    • informal Used as a reply to an unwanted question.

      ‘when asked ‘What's that?,’ she snapped sarcastically: ‘It's a wigwam for a goose's bridle!’’
      • ‘Pa was watching her through the spy crack. "What're you makin', me darlin'?" "A wigwam for a goose's bridle."’
      • ‘"What are you making?" I said. "A wigwam for a goose's bridle," snarled Barry.’
      • ‘I asked her what she was making, and she said, “A Wigwam for a goose's bridle,” so I went off to play.’
      • ‘I told Ann that I was making a wigwam for a goose's bridle, a special one to help Dad escape. Really, I was carving a plane.’
      • ‘"Where you goin'?" he called. "To git a wigwam for a goose's bridle!" yelled Smith insolently.’


Early 17th century: from Ojibwa wigwaum, Algonquian wikiwam ‘their house’.