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[aw-tok-thuh n]
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noun, plural au·toch·thons, au·toch·tho·nes [aw-tok-thuh-neez] /ɔˈtɒk θəˌniz/.
  1. an aboriginal inhabitant.
  2. Ecology. one of the indigenous animals or plants of a region.
  3. Geology. a geological formation formed in the region where found.
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Compare allochthon.

Origin of autochthon

1640–50; < Greek autóchthōn of the land itself, equivalent to auto- auto-1 + chthṓn the earth, land, ground
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for autochthon

Historical Examples

  • He is earth-born, autochthon, and holds possession by descent.

    The Eulogy of Richard Jefferies

    Walter Besant

  • Autochthon, aw-tok′thon, n. one of the primitive inhabitants of a country: an aboriginal:—pl.

  • To the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus to the elder, and Autochthon to the one who followed him.

  • Tchekoff is a true product of Russian literature, an autochthon plant, nourished by his natal sap.

  • To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him.



British Dictionary definitions for autochthon


noun plural -thons or -thones (-θəˌniːz)
  1. (often plural) one of the earliest known inhabitants of any country; aboriginal
  2. an animal or plant that is native to a particular region
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Word Origin

C17: from Greek autokhthōn from the earth itself, from auto- + khthōn the earth
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 autochthon


1640s, "one sprung from the soil he inhabits" (plural autochthones), from Greek autokhthon "aborigines, natives," literally "sprung from the land itself," used of the Athenians and others who claimed descent from the Pelasgians, from auto- "self" (see auto-) + khthon "land, earth, soil" (see chthonic).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper