View synonyms for native


[ ney-tiv ]


  1. being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being:

    one's native land.

  2. belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature; inherent: native grace.

    native ability;

    native grace.

    Synonyms: congenital, inbred, innate

  3. belonging by birth to a people regarded as indigenous to a certain place, especially a preliterate people:

    Native guides accompanied the expedition through the rainforest.

  4. of indigenous origin, growth, or production:

    native pottery.

    Synonyms: aboriginal, autochthonous

  5. Native. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Indigenous inhabitants of a place or country: Native dress.

    Native customs;

    Native dress.

  6. born in a particular place or country:

    a native New Yorker.

  7. of or relating to a language acquired by a person before or to the exclusion of any other language:

    Her native language is Greek.

  8. pertaining to or characteristic of a person using a native language or first language, acquired in childhood: native command of a language.

    a native speaker of English;

    native command of a language.

  9. under the rule of natives:

    a native government.

  10. occupied by natives:

    the native quarter of Algiers.

  11. remaining or growing in a natural state; unadorned or unchanged:

    the native beauty of a desert island.

    Synonyms: original, genuine, real

  12. forming the source or origin of a person or thing:

    He returned to his native Kansas.

  13. originating naturally in a particular country or region, as animals or plants:

    Hundreds of species of plants and trees native to central Texas are displayed and nurtured in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, south of Austin.

  14. found in nature rather than produced artificially, as a mineral substance:

    the difference between native and industrial diamonds.

  15. Chemistry, Mineralogy. (of metals) occurring in nature pure or uncombined:

    native copper.

  16. belonging to a person as a birthright:

    to deprive people of their native rights.

  17. Digital Technology.
    1. of or relating to software designed specifically for the platform on which it is running: native mobile apps.

      native applications for 64-bit PCs;

      native mobile apps.

    2. of or relating to data interpreted or displayed by the software or hardware for which it was originally encoded:

      to view the file in its native format.

  18. Archaic. closely related, as by birth.


  1. Sometimes Offensive. one of the people indigenous to a place or country, especially as distinguished from strangers, foreigners, colonizers, etc.:

    the natives of Chile.

    Synonyms: Aborigine

    Antonyms: alien

  2. Native. Sometimes Offensive. Indigenous ( def 2 ). the current entry.
  3. a person born in a particular place or country:

    a native of Ohio.

  4. an organism indigenous to a particular region.
  5. British. an oyster reared in British waters, especially in an artificial bed.
  6. Astrology. a person born under a particular planet:

    Capricorn natives are practical, collected, and reliable allies to have in a crisis.


/ ˈneɪtɪv /


  1. relating or belonging to a person or thing by virtue of conditions existing at the time of birth

    my native city

  2. inherent, natural, or innate

    a native strength

  3. born in a specified place

    a native German

  4. whenpostpositive, foll by to originating in a specific place or area

    kangaroos are native to Australia

  5. characteristic of or relating to the indigenous inhabitants of a country or area

    the native art of the New Guinea Highlands

  6. (of chemical elements, esp metals) found naturally in the elemental form
  7. unadulterated by civilization, artifice, or adornment; natural
  8. archaic.
    related by birth or race
  9. go native
    (of a settler) to adopt the lifestyle of the local population, esp when it appears less civilized


  1. usually foll by of a person born in a particular place

    a native of Geneva

  2. usually foll by of a species originating in a particular place or area

    the kangaroo is a native of Australia

  3. a member of an indigenous people of a country or area, esp a non-White people, as opposed to colonial settlers and immigrants
  4. offensive.
    any non-White


/ tĭv /

  1. Living or growing naturally in a particular place or region; indigenous.
  2. Occurring in nature on its own, uncombined with other substances. Copper and gold are often found in native form.
  3. Of or relating to the naturally occurring conformation of a macromolecule, such as a protein.

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Because of its potentially offensive and colonial overtones, native as a noun without qualification is best avoided. It is however acceptable when modified, as in : natives of Edinburgh , or a native of North Carolina

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Sensitive Note

When used to mean "an original inhabitant of a place or country," the noun native may be taken as offensive and has declined in use. Historically it is associated with colonialist attitudes: Indigenous people, especially when nonwhite, were typically considered to be primitive or culturally inferior. Native also falls into a category of identity words that are common as adjectives (a marketplace for Native artists; a Native politician sought the nomination) and sometimes used as plural nouns (only Natives who reside on the reservation can vote in the Tribal election). However, these identity words are very rare and often sound offensive when used as singular nouns (voters elected a Native ). In most cases, the adjective is preferred (voters elected a Native councilmember ).

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Derived Forms

  • ˈnatively, adverb
  • ˈnativeness, noun

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Other Words From

  • na·tive·ly adverb
  • na·tive·ness noun
  • non·na·tive adjective noun
  • non·na·tive·ly adverb
  • non·na·tive·ness noun
  • pro·na·tive adjective
  • qua·si-na·tive adjective
  • un·na·tive adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of native1

First recorded in 1325–75; from Latin nātīvus “inborn, natural,” equivalent to nāt(us) (past participle of nāscī “to be born”) + -īvus, replacing Middle English natif, from Middle French, from Latin, as above; -ive

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Word History and Origins

Origin of native1

C14: from Latin nātīvus innate, natural, from nascī to be born

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. go native, Informal: Often Offensive. to adopt the way of life of a place or environment that is different from one's own (sometimes used facetiously): I don’t usually drink alcohol, but at the frat party I went native and played beer pong with everyone else.

    After living on the island for a year, we went native and did without air conditioning just like the locals.

    I don’t usually drink alcohol, but at the frat party I went native and played beer pong with everyone else.

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Example Sentences

That limits the amount of access native speakers have to tech tools in their language.

From Quartz

Unlike Facebook’s previous shopping products, the latest storefronts will be native to the platform.

From Digiday

She also brought with her the native advertising playbook from Forbes.

From Digiday

Across board branded content revenue for publishers will be down between 20% and 40% this year, according to tech company Polar, which helps publishers with branded content and native advertising.

From Digiday

The NBA is smitten with mascots native to land, the most popular classification across the board.

He had shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend early that morning in Baltimore and headed for his native Brooklyn.

While the Clovis, California native may not have completely believed that, he wasn't about to sit around and find out.

They were conducted entirely in Hebrew, a language the U.S. native does not speak, although he was provided a translator.

Hornbuckle, on the other hand, says the policy will not put Native American nations in danger.

And household earnings for illegal immigrants are considerably lower than that of native-born and legal immigrants.

His 6,000 native auxiliaries (as it proved later on) could not be relied upon in a civil war.

She came to know the peculiarities of nearly all native trees.

A native of Haarlem on Zandam, the date of her birth being unknown.

The history of that terrible hour is brightened by many such instances of native fealty.

“We shall make Mr. Pickwick pay for peeping,” said Fogg, with considerable native humour, as he unfolded his papers.


Related Words

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




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