Definition of Athabaskan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌaTHəˈbaskən/
(also Athapaskan /-ˈpas-/)


Denoting, belonging to, or relating to a family of North American Indian languages including especially Navajo and various Apache languages of the southwest US, several languages of coastal California and Oregon, and many languages of Alaska and northwestern Canada, including Chipewyan.
Example sentences
  • Other languages with similar devices to mark topic object include Wichita, Pawnee, Tlingit, and some Athapaskan languages such as Navajo and Schaptin.
  • I enjoyed the warmth of the hospitality in isolated Athabaskan Indian and Inuit communities.
  • The Navajo language belongs to the Athapaskan language family that is spoken from beyond the Arctic Circle in Alaska and Canada to the southwestern United States.


1The Athabaskan family of languages.
Example sentences
  • The ‘keepers of the language’ should be the language family - Algonquin, Athapaskan, Eskimo-Aleut, Haida, Iroquoian, Hutenai, Salishan, Siouan, Tlingit, Wakashan.
2A speaker of any of the Athabaskan languages.
Example sentences
  • They also share some cultural similarity with the Athabaskan, with whom the Tlingit have interacted and traded for centuries.
  • Ron Scollon and Suzanne Scollon found that the personal ‘display’ required in argumentative writing was culturally inappropriate for the Athabaskan of Alaska, a tribe related to the Dene.


From Athabasca, the name of a lake in western Canada, from Cree athapaskaw 'grass and reeds here and there', + -an.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Ath·a·bas·kan

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