[ ath-uh-bas-kuh n ]
/ ˌæθ əˈbæs kən /


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

Definition for athapascan (2 of 2)


or Ath·a·pas·can

[ ath-uh-pas-kuh n ]
/ ˌæθ əˈpæs kən /

noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for athapascan

British Dictionary definitions for athapascan


Athapaskan Athabascan or Athabaskan (ˌæθəˈbæskən)

/ (ˌæθəˈpæskən) /


a group of North American Indian languages belonging to the Na-Dene phylum, including Apache and Navaho
a speaker of one of these languages

Word Origin for Athapascan

from Cree athapaskaaw scattered grass or reeds
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