- Existing in or belonging to one by nature; innate: native ability.
- Being such by birth or origin: a native Scot.
- Being one's own because of the place or circumstances of one's birth: our native land.
- Originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region; indigenous: a plant native to Asia.
a. Being a member of the original inhabitants of a particular place.
b. Of, belonging to, or characteristic of such inhabitants: native dress; the native diet of Polynesia.
- Occurring in nature pure or uncombined with other substances: native copper.
- Natural; unaffected: native beauty.
- Archaic Closely related, as by birth or race.
- Biochemistry Of or relating to the naturally occurring conformation of a macromolecule, such as a protein.
a. One born in or connected with a place by birth: a native of Scotland now living in the United States.
b. One of the original inhabitants or lifelong residents of a place.
- An animal or plant that originated in a particular place or region.
Origin: Middle English
Origin: , from Old French natif
Origin: , from Latin nātīvus
Origin: , from nātus
Origin: , past participle of nāscī, to be born; see genə- in Indo-European roots
Related Forms: Usage Note:
When used in reference to a member of an indigenous people, the noun native,
like its synonym aborigine,
can evoke unwelcome stereotypes of primitiveness or cultural backwardness that many people now seek to avoid. As is often the case with words that categorize people, the use of the noun is more problematic than the use of the corresponding adjective. Thus a phrase such as the peoples native to northern Europe
or the aboriginal inhabitants of the South Pacific
is generally much preferable to the natives of northern Europe
or the aborigines of the South Pacific.
• Despite its potentially negative connotations, native
is enjoying increasing popularity in ethnonyms such as native Australian
and Alaska Native,
perhaps due to the wide acceptance of Native American
as a term of ethnic pride and respect. These compounds have the further benefit of being equally acceptable when used alone as nouns (a native Australian
) or in an adjectival construction (a member of a native Australian people
). Of terms formed on this model, those referring to peoples indigenous to the United States generally capitalize native,
as in Alaska Native
(or the less common Native Alaskan
) and Native Hawaiian,
while others usually style it lowercase.