Definition of Arawakan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌerəˈwäkən/


1Relating to the Arawak people.
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.
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.


The Arawakan family of languages.
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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Ar·a·wak·an

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