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[noh-mad] /ˈnoʊ mæd/
a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode but moves about from place to place, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route or circuit according to the state of the pasturage or food supply.
any wanderer; itinerant.
Origin of nomad
1580-90; < Latin nomad- < Greek, stem of nomás pasturing flocks, akin to némein to pasture, graze
Related forms
nomadism, noun
nonnomad, noun, adjective
seminomad, noun
seminomadism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nomads
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A few people there were, hunters and nomads, living on wild honey and game.

    The Leopard Woman Stewart Edward White
  • The nomads of Asia follow the pasturage from month to month.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Most inquirers are chiefly interested in the morals—or immorals—of these nomads.

    The Gypsies Charles G. Leland
  • There was no place for them to live but in the caves or as nomads migrating with the animals.

    Space Prison Tom Godwin
  • The Mongols, however, are nomads, and their villages are always on the move.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin
  • nomads are very skilful in choosing the places for their winter dwellings.

    Beasts, Men and Gods Ferdinand Ossendowski
  • The victors were nomads, who did not care to occupy the land they had conquered.

    The Story of Russia R. Van Bergen, M.A.
  • These nomads were a hybrid type of Araucans, Pehu-enches, and Aucas.

British Dictionary definitions for nomads


a member of a people or tribe who move from place to place to find pasture and food
a person who continually moves from place to place; wanderer
Derived Forms
nomadism, noun
Word Origin
C16: via French from Latin nomas wandering shepherd, from Greek; related to nemein to feed, pasture
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nomads



1550s, from Middle French nomade (16c.), from Latin Nomas (genitive Nomadis) "wandering groups in Arabia," from Greek nomas (genitive nomados, plural nomades) "roaming, roving, wandering" (to find pastures for flocks or herds), related to nomos "pasture, pasturage, grazing," literally "land allotted," and to nemein "put to pasture," originally "deal out," from PIE root *nem- "to divide, distribute, allot" (see nemesis).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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