Also found in: Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


a. A member of the indigenous or earliest known population of a region; a native.
b. often Aborigine A member of any of the indigenous peoples of Australia. See Usage Note at native.
2. aborigines The flora and fauna native to a geographic area.

[Back-formation from pl. aborigines (taken as aborigine + -s), from Latin aborīginēs, original inhabitants (folk etymology of the name of a pre-Roman tribe of Italy) : ab, from; see ab-1 + orīgine, ablative of orīgō, beginning; see origin.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
It is generally believed that the Aborigines of the American continent have an Asiatic origin.
0F the village of Wish-ram, the aborigines' fishing mart of the Columbia, we have given some account in an early chapter of this work.
Upon the whole, all persons ought to endeavour to follow what is right, and not what is established; and it is probable that the first men, whether they sprung out of the earth, or were saved from some general calamity, had very little understanding or knowledge, as is affirmed of these aborigines; so that it would be absurd to continue in the practice of their rules.
About her were clustered a score of curious natives--mostly men, for among the aborigines it is the male who owns this characteristic in its most exaggerated form.
Nor a roof such as is made by the lowest aborigines of to-day.
Aborigines, in queer outrigger canoes, and Japanese, in queerer sampans, paddled about the bay and came aboard.
The isolation of his manner and colour lent him the appearance of a creature from Tophet, who had strayed into the pellucid smokelessness of this region of yellow grain and pale soil, with which he had nothing in common, to amaze and to discompose its aborigines.
'The aborigines of the Andaman Islands may perhaps claim the distinction of being the smallest race upon this earth, though some anthropologists prefer the Bushmen of Africa, the Digger Indians of America, and the Terra del Fuegians.
The majority belonged to the class bourgeois; but there were many countesses, there were the daughters of two generals and of several colonels, captains, and government EMPLOYES; these ladies sat side by side with young females destined to be demoiselles de magasins, and with some Flamandes, genuine aborigines of the country.
He had been instructed only in that innocent and ineffectual way in which the Catholic priests teach the aborigines, by which the pupil is never educated to the degree of consciousness, but only to the degree of trust and reverence, and a child is not made a man, but kept a child.
The poor woman ended by admitting to herself that she was reduced to the aborigines. Her eye now began to assume a certain savage expression, to which the malicious chevalier responded by a shrewd look as he drew out his snuff-box and gazed at the Princess Goritza.
There are deplorable accounts from Africa, and the Australian aborigines appear to have been already exterminated.