Definition of Tsimshian in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈCHimSHēən/ Pronunciation: /ˈtsim-/

noun (plural same)

1A member of an American Indian people of coastal British Columbia.
Example sentences
  • These tribes include Eskimo (the largest), Aleuts, Alaska Athabaskan, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, American Indian, and ‘Tribes Not Reported or Specific’.
  • Timothy had strong roots in the native Alaskan tribe of the Tsimshian and it showed in more ways than one.
  • The Tsimshian were able musicians, dancers,and dramatists.
2The language of the Tsimshian.
Example sentences
  • His name in the language of the native Alaskan Tsimshian, Sm'algyax, had been Baa'làx Án'on, or ‘Ghost Hand’.
  • The Gitksan people of British Columbia have no conventional native name for their language which sets it apart from other varieties such as Nisgha and Tsimshian.
  • Tomlinson's parents were missionaries, and he also spoke Tsimshian.


Relating to the Tsimshian or their language.
Example sentences
  • The Gitksan generally refer to their own language as Sim'algax [the real or true language], but the Nisgha and Tsimshian people do the same.
  • One of the books that arrived in the mail from a friend is The Porcupine Hunter, a gathering of Tsimshian fables, myths and moral tales (one might call them cautionary tales) written down by Henry Tate from 1903 until his death in 1913.
  • In the early 1920s, the Canadian government cut down hundreds of poles in Tsimshian villages and re-erected them miles away along the Canadian-Pacific Railway.


From the Tsimshian self-designation c'msyan, literally 'inside the Skeena River'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Tsim·shi·an

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.