[ in-dij-uh-nuhs ]
See synonyms for indigenous on
  1. originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native (often followed by to): the plants indigenous to Canada.

  2. Indigenous. relating to or being a people who are the original, earliest known inhabitants of a region, or are their descendants: the Indigenous Maori of New Zealand;the Indigenous languages of the Americas.

  1. innate; inherent; natural (usually followed by to): feelings indigenous to human beings.

Origin of indigenous

First recorded in 1640–50; from Latin indigen(a) “native, original inhabitant” (indi-, by-form of in- in-2 (cf. indagate) + -gena, derivative from base of gignere “to bring into being”; cf. genital, genitor) + -ous

Other words for indigenous

Opposites for indigenous

Other words from indigenous

  • in·dig·e·nous·ly, adverb
  • in·dig·e·nous·ness, in·di·gen·i·ty [in-di-jen-i-tee], /ˌɪn dɪˈdʒɛn ɪ ti/, noun
  • non·in·dig·e·nous, adjective
  • un·in·dig·e·nous, adjective
  • un·in·dig·e·nous·ly, adverb

Words that may be confused with indigenous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for indigenous


/ (ɪnˈdɪdʒɪnəs) /

adjective(when postpositive, foll by to)
  1. originating or occurring naturally (in a country, region, etc); native

  2. innate (to); inherent (in)

Origin of indigenous

C17: from Latin indigenus, from indigena indigene, from indi- in + gignere to beget

Derived forms of indigenous

  • indigenously, adverb
  • indigenousness or indigenity (ˌɪndɪˈdʒɛnɪtɪ), noun

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

Scientific definitions for indigenous


[ ĭn-dĭjə-nəs ]

  1. Native to a particular region or environment but occurring naturally in other places as well. The American black bear is indigenous to many different parts of North America. Compare alien endemic.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.