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  1. of, relating to, or typical of aborigines: aboriginal customs.
  2. original or earliest known; native; indigenous: the aboriginal people of Tahiti.
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  1. aborigine(def 1).
  2. (initial capital letter) aborigine(def 2).
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Origin of aboriginal

First recorded in 1660–70; aborigine + -al1
Related formsab·o·rig·i·nal·i·ty, nounab·o·rig·i·nal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for aboriginal

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for aboriginal

primitive, ancient, primary, native, original, endemic, first, earliest, indigenous, primeval, primordial

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Historical Examples of aboriginal

British Dictionary definitions for aboriginal


  1. existing in a place from the earliest known period; indigenous; autochthonous
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Derived Formsaboriginally, adverb


  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the indigenous peoples of Australia
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  1. another word for an Australian Aborigine
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The Australian government suggests that the most exact and inclusive way of referring to the indigenous peoples of Australia is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples . Other terms which are acceptable are: Aboriginal people(s), Australian Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders
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

Word Origin and History for aboriginal


1660s, "first, earliest," especially in reference to inhabitants of lands colonized by Europeans, from aborigines (see aborigine) + -al (1); specific Australian sense is from 1820. The noun is attested from 1767. Related: Aboriginally.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper