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[ney-tiv] /ˈneɪ tɪv/

being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being:
one’s native land.
belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature; inherent:
native ability; native grace.
belonging by birth to a people regarded as indigenous to a certain place, especially a preliterate people:
Native guides accompanied the expedition through the rain forest.
of indigenous origin, growth, or production:
native pottery.
of, relating to, or characteristic of the indigenous inhabitants of a place or country:
native customs; native dress.
born in a particular place or country:
a native New Yorker.
of or relating to a language acquired by a person before or to the exclusion of any other language:
Her native language is Greek.
pertaining to or characteristic of a person using his or her native language:
a native speaker of English; native command of a language.
under the rule of natives:
a native government.
occupied by natives:
the native quarter of Algiers.
remaining or growing in a natural state; unadorned or unchanged:
the native beauty of a desert island.
forming the source or origin of a person or thing:
He returned to his native Kansas.
originating naturally in a particular country or region, as animals or plants.
found in nature rather than produced artificially, as a mineral substance:
the difference between native and industrial diamonds.
Chemistry, Mineralogy. (of metals) occurring in nature pure or uncombined:
native copper.
belonging to a person as a birthright:
to deprive a person of his native rights.

Archaic. closely related, as by birth.
Sometimes Offensive. one of the people indigenous to a place or country, especially as distinguished from strangers, foreigners, colonizers, etc.:
the natives of Chile.
a person born in a particular place or country:
a native of Ohio.
an organism indigenous to a particular region.
British. an oyster reared in British waters, especially in an artificial bed.
Astrology. a person born under a particular planet.
go native, Informal. to adopt or affect the manners or way of life of a place or environment that is different from one’s own, especially a less developed country:
After living on the island for a year, we went native and began to wear the local costume.
relating or belonging to a person or thing by virtue of conditions existing at the time of birth: my native city
inherent, natural, or innate: a native strength
born in a specified place: a native German
when postpositive, foll by to. originating in a specific place or area: kangaroos are native to Australia
characteristic of or relating to the indigenous inhabitants of a country or area: the native art of the New Guinea Highlands
(of chemical elements, esp metals) found naturally in the elemental form
unadulterated by civilization, artifice, or adornment; natural
(archaic) related by birth or race
go native, (of a settler) to adopt the lifestyle of the local population, esp when it appears less civilized
(usually foll by of) a person born in a particular place: a native of Geneva
(usually foll by of) a species originating in a particular place or area: the kangaroo is a native of Australia
a member of an indigenous people of a country or area, esp a non-White people, as opposed to colonial settlers and immigrants
(offensive, old-fashioned) any non-White

late 14c., “natural, hereditary, connected with something in a natural way,” from Old French natif “native, born in; raw, unspoiled” (14c.) and directly from Latin nativus “innate, produced by birth,” from natus, past participle of nasci (Old Latin gnasci) “be born,” related to gignere “beget,” from PIE root *gene-/*gen- “to give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to familial and tribal groups (see genus). From late 15c. as “born in a particular place.” From early 15c. as “of one’s birth,” also used from mid-15c. in sense of “bound; born in servitude or serfdom,” also, as a noun “a bondsman, serf.” Native American attested from 1956.

mid-15c., “person born in bondage,” from native (adj.), and in some usages from Medieval Latin nativus, noun use of nativus (adj.). Cf. Old French naif, also “woman born in slavery.” From 1530s as “person who has always lived in a place.” Applied from 1650s to original inhabitants of non-European nations where Europeans hold political power, e.g., of American Indians, by 1630s; hence, used contemptuously of “the locals” from 1800. Related: Natives.

native na·tive (nā’tĭv)


Related Terms

go native


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