- a group of North American Indian languages, comprising the Athabaskan family, Eyak, Tlingit, and Haida, hypothetically considered to be descendants of a single protolanguage: the genetic relationship of either Tlingit or Haida to Athabaskan and Eyak is now disputed.
- the hypothesized protolanguage itself.
- of, belonging to, or pertaining to Na-Dene.
Origin of Na-Dene
1915; name coined by Edward Sapir from assumed reflexes of a single Na-Dene root: Haida na to live, house, Tlingit na people, Athabaskan *-ne in dene, representing a word in Athabaskan languages for “person, people,” e.g., Navajo diné
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- a phylum of North American Indian languages including Athapascan, Tlingit, and Haida
from Haida na to dwell + Athapascan dene people; coined by Edward Sapir (1884–1939), American anthropologist