Definition of native in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈneɪtɪv/


1A person born in a specified place or associated with a place by birth, whether subsequently resident there or not: a native of Montreal
More example sentences
  • A native of Leicester, she's now a resident of Düsseldorf from where she runs an ‘assessment and certification’ consultancy.
  • A native of Mission Viejo, his parents were born in Mexico and he fielded questions equally well in Spanish or English.
  • A native of Galway and a resident of Naas, she has become a legend for the hundreds of young people who've passed through the school in that time.
1.1A local inhabitant: New York in the summer was too hot even for the natives
More example sentences
  • Drunken games of darts in the local were watched by taciturn natives seething with resentment about property prices.
  • Local Kentucky natives are deeply offended, claiming his work denigrates Appalachia and the South.
  • A dashing pith helmet is certain to earn you respect from the local natives.
1.2 dated or offensive A non-white original inhabitant of a country, as regarded by European colonists or travellers: he led an expedition to New Guinea and was wounded by a native’s spear
1.3An animal or plant indigenous to a place: the marigold is a native of southern Europe
More example sentences
  • In Thomas Horton's reign, he pruned back further, replacing with deciduous exotics and natives, including kauri planted in regimental lines.
  • The monk parakeet, a native of South America, has proved itself a hardy settler, able to survive the winter freezes of Chicago and Montreal.
  • A native of southern Africa, the quagga used to occur in vast herds in the Karoo regions of Cape Province and the southern part of Orange Free State.
1.4British An oyster reared in British waters.
Example sentences
  • Pacific oysters are not as esteemed as natives but turning down a plate of spanking fresh Pacifics is simply misplaced snobbery.
  • I drank close to a bottle of Chablis the other day while they hammered away fruitlessly at half a dozen natives.
  • But when he asked himself a simple question - where can you buy Colchester natives in Colchester?


1Associated with the place or circumstances of a person’s birth: he’s a native New Yorker her native country
More example sentences
  • He also said that the stolen properties were sent to his native village through his associate for disposal.
  • She also posed for a 1955 painting in which he depicted her wearing the native dress commonly associated with Kahlo.
  • This corps was never involved in the brutalities associated with other native police.
1.1Of the indigenous inhabitants of a place: a ceremonial native dance from Fiji
More example sentences
  • The book's author is a historian and geologist who writes of the prehistory of the area, its geologic formation, and its native inhabitants.
  • What is most interesting about this movie is the gradual disappearance of native inhabitants and even of the mountain as backdrop.
  • But abstention from meat came naturally to the native inhabitants of India because of the climate.
2(Of a plant or animal) of indigenous origin or growth: eagle owls aren’t native to Britain Scotland’s few remaining native pinewoods
More example sentences
  • Both shrub species are native to Germany and are diffuse-porous.
  • By that criterion, more than a dozen long-nosed fly species are native to southern Africa.
  • The species is native to South Africa, but is now widespread in south-western Australia, being especially abundant on roadsides and wasteland.
2.1Australian /NZ Used in names of animals or plants resembling others familiar elsewhere, e.g. native bee.
3(Of a quality) belonging to a person’s character from birth; innate: some last vestige of native wit prompted Guy to say nothing
More example sentences
  • Because of that freedom, you can gather the fruits of your labor, develop your native qualities, and gain the respect of others.
  • That's folk wisdom reflective of the depth of native wit and imagination.
  • Similarly, I wonder about textual and traditional derivatives that establish the personification sets/traits that we think of as native qualities of an animal.
hereditary, inherited, in the blood, in the family, natal, congenital, bred in the bone, inbred, ingrained, built-in
4(Of a metal or other mineral) found in a pure or uncombined state.
Example sentences
  • Gold most commonly occurs as a pure metal called native gold or as a natural alloy with silver called electrum.
  • Other silver minerals reported were native silver, argentite, freibergite, and hessite.
  • The simplest ore minerals are the native metals in which the mineral is composed of a single element.
5 Computing Designed for or built into a given system, especially denoting the language associated with a given processor, computer, or compiler, and programs written in it.
Example sentences
  • Early programmers worked in native computer code or machine language.
  • It was never designed to be a native client/server system.
  • This article has highlighted the importance of storage granularity and indexing within the design of a native XML database.


In contexts such as a native of Boston or New York in the summer was too hot even for the natives the noun native is quite acceptable. But when it is used to mean ‘a non-white original inhabitant of a country’, as in this dance is a favourite with the natives, it is more problematic. This meaning has an old-fashioned feel and, because of its associations with a colonial European outlook, it may cause offence.


go native

humorous or derogatory (Of a person living away from their own country or region) abandon one’s own culture, customs, or way of life and adopt those of the country or region one is living in: entranced by this vision of social harmony, he begins to go native
More example sentences
  • He rejects suggestions that his almost 30 years of involvement in the region has caused him to go native, claiming it takes years even to begin to grapple with its complexities.
  • Does this bespeak the subconscious choice of a position between cultures, observing from without rather than going native?
  • That's for tourists, and these guys went native a long time ago.



Example sentences
  • Even though they are not natively grown, olives can be found on pizza, in salad, or as a spread.
  • In the cities most upper class, urban families break the fast with a date in imitation of the Prophet even though dates do not grow natively in most parts of Pakistan.
  • If the secondary tongues are added to the number of people speaking those languages natively, then the figures become somewhat distorted.


Example sentences
  • These simulation results suggest that the ensemble that minimizes them spans conformations with different degrees of nativeness.
  • In this way, he can be seen as one of an emerging global class of ‘indigenists’ - individuals for whom their nativeness defines them, both for themselves and for those around them.
  • The culture of conservationists and environmentalists in Australia has provided a focus for several contributors, as have the themes of indigeneity, belonging, nativeness and ferality.


Late Middle English: from Latin nativus, from nat- 'born', from the verb nasci.

Words that rhyme with native

dative, stative

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: na¦tive

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