Definition of Arawakan in English:


Syllabification: Ar·a·wak·an
Pronunciation: /ˌarəˈwäkən


1Of or relating to the Arawak people.
More example sentences
  • Other Arawakan peoples on the South American mainland were also matrilineal, from Surinam to eastern Peru.
  • Many Arawakan languages are now extinct, but a few survive in the former heartland region of the Amazon-Orinoco.
  • Columbus had called the Northern Islanders, Taíno, from the Arawakan word for ‘friendly people’ as contrasted by the hostile Carib.
2Denoting or belonging to a widely scattered family of South American Indian languages, most of which are now extinct or nearly so.
More example sentences
  • Fanning out from Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti/Dominican Republic), Spaniards enslaved Arawakan and Taino-speaking ‘Indians ‘for mining and agricultural enterprises.’
  • The group is in the Arawakan linguistic family.
  • This Karinya influence comes as a result of interaction between original speakers of an Arawakan language living in the Lesser Antilles and incoming Karina from South America.


Back to top  
The Arawakan family of languages.
More example sentences
  • Prior to the arrival of the Portuguese, the native population spoke languages belonging to at least four major language families: Arawakan, Gê, Carib, and Tupi-Guarani.
  • Rouse suggests that Arawakan and Cariban are more useful designations for these linguistic stocks.
  • The Tupí-Guaraní family of languages is next to the Arawakan in geographical extent.

Definition of Arawakan in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day deictic
Pronunciation: ˈdeɪktɪk
denoting a word whose meaning depends on context...