(comparative more aboriginal, superlative most aboriginal)
- First according to historical or scientific records; original; indigenous; primitive. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
- Living in a land before colonization by the Europeans. [First attested in the late 17th century.]
- Alternative capitalization of Aboriginal. [First attested in the late 18th century.]
(comparative more Aboriginal, superlative most Aboriginal)
- Of or pertaining to Australian Aboriginal peoples, Aborigines, or their language. [First attested in the 19th century.]
- Alternative capitalization of aboriginal.
Given that -al is an adjective suffix (that Aboriginal was originally an adjective, Aborigines being the original noun), the usage of aboriginal as a noun was for a time considered incorrect.
In Canada, Aboriginal is most commonly capitalized (indicated by its status as the main headword in the Canadian Oxford Dictionary). The term has official status in the Constitution Act of 1982, and while recognizing that it is encountered in lowercase, since 1994 the Government of Canada has recommended the word be always capitalized (like, for example, Asian, Hispanic, and Nordic) and that it be used as a modifier, not a proper noun. It is used in this way by the Canadian Hansard and the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.
The U.S. Chicago Manual of Style recommends to capitalize ethnic groups and their associated adjectives: “Aborigines; an Aborigine; Aboriginal art”.
From aborigine + -al, aborigine being from Latin ab origine (“from the beginning”).