Definition of aboriginal in English:

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Pronunciation: /abəˈrɪdʒɪn(ə)l/


1Inhabiting or existing in a land from the earliest times or from before the arrival of colonists; indigenous.
Example sentences
  • Around the world, 70 percent of uranium deposits are located on aboriginal land.
  • As a territory born out of the desire for an aboriginal land claims agreement, we are governed as a public government.
  • The site will be arranged to evoke the lands where the eleven aboriginal nations in Quebec live.
indigenous, native;
original, earliest, first, initial;
ancient, primitive, primeval, primordial
rare autochthonous, autochthonic
1.1 (Aboriginal) Relating to the Australian Aborigines or their languages.
Example sentences
  • Then, I realised the guests were not Indians, but rather Aboriginal Australians.
  • Alice Moyle was present at the births of the new discipline of ethnomusicology and the new field of Australian Aboriginal music.
  • A quiet, deep pathos surrounds the story of each Aboriginal language in its individual encounter with the modern world.


1An aboriginal inhabitant of a place.
Example sentences
  • Using the aboriginals ' own oral histories, the developer proved that the site had been designated sacred only within the past 10 years.
  • Use aboriginals (not natives) when an all-encompassing collective term is needed.
  • Women, youth, aboriginals [and] ethnic communities are all in there, but anglophones aren't mentioned anywhere.
native, indigene, aborigine, local, original inhabitant
rare autochthon
1.1 (Aboriginal) A person belonging to one of the indigenous peoples of Australia.
Example sentences
  • When Australia's Aboriginals soaked Morton Bay chestnuts to make them edible, they were washing out a poison, castanospermine, that is today used to attack viruses, including HIV.
  • Early in the book, this exchange takes place between the author and his guide to the ways of Australia's Aboriginals, the remarkable Arkady Volchok.
  • Well, he started off as a young camel boy with Bill Wade, going into the centre of Australia counting Aboriginals to see how many lived out there.
2 (Aboriginal) [mass noun] Any of the numerous Australian Aboriginal languages.
Example sentences
  • Bondi is Aboriginal for ‘noise of tumbling waters’ and on a day when the surf is rolling in you can see why.


Mid 17th century: from Latin aborigines 'original inhabitants' (see aborigine) + -al.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: abo|ri¦gi¦nal

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