Definition of Algonquian in English:

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Pronunciation: /alˈɡäNGk(w)ēən/
(also Algonkian /-kēən/)


Denoting, belonging to, or relating to a family of North American Indian languages formerly spoken across a vast area from the Atlantic seaboard to the Great Lakes and the Great Plains.
Example sentences
  • The Blackfoot Indians' Algonquian dialect is related to the languages of several Plains, Eastern Woodlands, and Great Lake region tribes.
  • Some people have suggested that the phrase derives from the European and Algonquian name for the Delaware Indians, whose men would streak their faces and bodies with red ocher and blood-root.
  • The company has announced the purchase of exclusive rights to the entire Algonquian language family, including such well-known tongues as Cheyenne, Cree, and Mohican, in a $1.6 billion dollar deal.


1The Algonquian family of languages.
Example sentences
  • We examined the data for Algonquian as well as Siouan language groups.
  • The word is drawn from ototeman which roughly translates from Algonkian, one of the major languages of this region, as ‘he is my relative’.
  • This is a locative noun, which is a grammatical category used when creating names for places in Algonquian.
2A speaker of any of the Algonquian languages.

Algonquian is one of the largest groups of American Indian languages, including Abnaki, Mohegan, Pequot, Ojibwa, Cree, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Fox, Menomini, and Delaware. Although the Algonquian languages are today spoken from the east coast of North America to the Rockies, the speakers are few and several of the languages are endangered. Many English words have been adopted from these languages, e.g., moccasin, moose, and toboggan.

Example sentences
  • When the first white explorers arrived in the early seventeenth century, they found the settled, agricultural society of the Iroquois a contrast to the nomadic culture of the neighboring Algonquians.
  • Historically, there is no obvious comparable social development in the region among the two major cultural groups that would most likely have descended from these Early Late Woodland peoples: the Algonquians and Iroquoians.
  • The Algonquians destroyed wolves and exchanged black wolf skins as ceremonial gifts, and the English seemed prepared to enter and expand this trade, offering native hunters cloth, corn, and ammunition in return for wolf heads.


From Algonquin + -ian.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Al·gon·qui·an

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