[ath-uh-bas-kuh n]


a family of languages spoken by American Indians in most of inland northwest Canada and Alaska, in coastal Oregon and California, and in Arizona and the Rio Grande basin, and including especially Navajo, Apache, and Chipewyan.Compare family(def 14).
a member of any of various American Indian peoples speaking Athabaskan.


belonging to or characteristic of the Athabaskans.

Also Ath·a·bas·can, Athapaskan, Athapascan.

Origin of Athabaskan

1770–80; earlier Athapasca(s), introduced as a term for the Canadian Athabaskans (< Woods Cree ahδapaska·w Lake Athabaska, literally, there are reeds here and there < Proto-Algonquian *aʔlap(y)- net, reticulated + *-ašk- plant + derivational elements) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for athabaskan

Historical Examples of athabaskan

  • Their dialect is the softest and most copious of the Athabaskan tongues.

  • In the same parts the Athabaskan forms of speech differ most from each other.


    Robert Gordon Latham

  • Now as these last are Athabaskan, there must have been displacement.


    Robert Gordon Latham

  • Some of them were half wolf—creatures that were the result of inter-breeding on the part of Athabaskan Indians.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild

  • The water-system in question forms the centre of the great Athabaskan area—the centre, but not the whole.