(comparative more Inuit, superlative most Inuit)
- Of or pertaining to Inuit people, language, or culture.
The northern indigenous peoples of North America used to be called Eskimo, but the term has fallen out of use and is considered offensive in Canada and Greenland, because it was once thought to stem from a pejorative (see Eskimo). Inuit is the accepted term in Canada, and has gained some currency in the United States. However, Eskimo continues to be the prevalent name in Alaska for both the Inuit Inupiat people and the non-Inuit Yupik.
Also note that Inuit and Eskimo do not include the related Aleut people (Unangam), nor the Indian or First Nations peoples of the Arctic.
Many dictionaries do not list Inuits as a plural form. Inuit is usually used as an ethnonym with no singular form (like Chinese). The need to treat Inuit as a singular is obviated by wider recognition of its etymological singular form Inuk in recent times.
The Inuit language comprises a continuum of locally-intelligible dialects, with their own variations of the name for themselves and their own language. A number of these names have official status.
First attested 1755–65. From Inuktitut ᐃᓄᐃᑦ (inuit, “the people”), singular ᐃᓄᒃ (inuk, “person”), from Proto-Eskimo *inguɣ.