[in-dee-uh n] /ˈɪn di ən/

Also called American Indian, Amerind, Amerindian, Native American. a member of the aboriginal people of America or of any of the aboriginal North or South American stocks, usually excluding the Eskimos.
any of the indigenous languages of the American Indians.
Abbreviation: Ind.
a member of any of the peoples native to or inhabiting or the .
a citizen of the Republic of India.
Slang. a person who performs a required task or carries out the instructions of superiors:
We have too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Astronomy. the constellation Indus.
of, relating to, or characteristic of the American Indians or their languages.
of, relating to, or characteristic of India or the East Indies.
made of :
Indian meal.
Zoogeography. (def 3).
Phytogeography. belonging or pertaining to a geographical division comprising India south of the Himalayas, and Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
a native, citizen, or inhabitant of the Republic of India
(old-fashioned, taboo) a Native American
(not in scholarly usage) any of the languages of Native Americans
of, relating to, or characteristic of India, its inhabitants, or any of their languages
(Not in scholarly usage) of, relating to, or characteristic of Native Americans or any of their languages

“inhabit of India or South Asia,” c.1300 (noun and adjective); applied to the native inhabitants of the Americas from at least 1553, on the mistaken notion that America was the eastern end of Asia. Red Indian, to distinguish them from inhabitants of India, is first attested 1831 (Carlyle) but was not commonly used in North America. More than 500 modern phrases include Indian, most of them U.S. and most impugning honesty or intelligence, e.g. Indian giver, first attested 1765 in Indian gift:

An Indian gift is a proverbial expression, signifying a present for which an equivalent return is expected. [Thomas Hutchinson, “History of Massachusetts Bay,” 1765]

Meaning “one who gives a gift and then asks for it back” first attested 1892.

Related Terms

too many chiefs and not enough indians


Read Also:

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  • Indian sign

    noun 1. (US) a magic spell designed to place the victim in one’s power or bring him bad luck

  • Indian-silk

    noun 1. . noun 1. a soft, lightweight fabric constructed in plain weave, woven chiefly in India.

  • Indian-states-and-agencies

    plural noun 1. the 560 former semidependent states and agencies in India and Pakistan: all except Kashmir were incorporated into the republics of India and Pakistan (1947–49). plural noun 1. another name for the Native States

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