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n. pl. phy·lae (-lē)
A large citizens' organization based on kinship, constituting the largest political subdivision of an ancient Greek city-state.

[Greek phūlē, tribe, phyle; see bheuə- in Indo-European roots.]

phy′lic adj.


n, pl -lae (-liː)
(Anthropology & Ethnology) a tribe or clan of an ancient Greek people such as the Ionians
[C19: from Greek phulē tribe, clan]
ˈphylic adj


(ˈfaɪ li)

n., pl. -lae (-lē).
(in ancient Greece) any of various hereditary corporate subdivisions of a population, as the traditional tribal subdivisions of the Dorians and Ionians.
[1860–65; < Greek phȳlḗ]
phy′lic, adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.phyle - a tribe of ancient Athenians
tribe, folk - a social division of (usually preliterate) people
References in periodicals archive ?
This study follows the rationale outlined by Dixon (2002:45) for subgrouping languages: in situations where there is more than 70 percent common vocabulary between two languages, they are probably dialects of the same language; between 51 and 70 percent, the two are different languages or family-like languages of the same subgroup; between 26 and 50 percent, different subgroups of the same group; and between 16 and 25 percent, different groups of the same phylic family; but when the commonality is less than 15 percent the two are from different phylic families.