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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for nomads
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Everywhere the nomads destroyed much, but everywhere they brought in a new spirit of free enquiry and moral innovation.

  • As nomads, ravenous and restless, the men from the West have come to us.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • They were nomads and the descendants of nomads, who for ages had been used to fold their tents and flit away.

  • Eventually a camel was discovered which some nomads were trying to dispose of.

    Tartarin de Tarascon Alphonse Daudet
  • The Chinese fought the barbarians with the tactics of mounted archers, devices learned from the nomads.

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
  • The nomads of Asia follow the pasturage from month to month.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • I could not understand why the nomads were ready to serve us without the slightest suggestion.

  • Most inquirers are chiefly interested in the morals—or immorals—of these nomads.

    The Gypsies Charles G. Leland
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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