go native, Informal: Sometimes Offensive. to adopt the way of life of a place or environment that is different from one's own (sometimes used facetiously): 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.

Origin of native

1325–75; < Latin nātīvus inborn, natural, equivalent to nāt(us) (past participle of nāscī to be born) + -īvus -ive; replacing Middle English natif (adj.) < Middle French < Latin, as above
Related formsna·tive·ly, adverbna·tive·ness, nounnon·na·tive, adjective, nounnon·na·tive·ly, adverbnon·na·tive·ness, nounpro·na·tive, adjectivequa·si-na·tive, adjectiveun·na·tive, adjective

Synonyms for native

Antonyms for native

2. acquired. 24. alien

Usage 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. Unlike the noun, the corresponding adjectival use of native is generally acceptable, as in Native American. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for native

Contemporary Examples of native

Historical Examples of native

  • Would you not like to be buried with regal honour, in your native Clazomenæ?


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Further, the native who gave all the information to Mr. Monger was one of our party.

  • In most parts of Mesopotamia it was understood as readily as the native tongue.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • There was, however, one exception, and that was his friend Windich (native).

  • Windich found a native spring about a mile to the North-East.

British Dictionary definitions for native



relating or belonging to a person or thing by virtue of conditions existing at the time of birthmy native city
inherent, natural, or innatea native strength
born in a specified placea native German
(when postpositive, foll by to) originating in a specific place or areakangaroos are native to Australia
characteristic of or relating to the indigenous inhabitants of a country or areathe native art of the New Guinea Highlands
(of chemical elements, esp metals) found naturally in the elemental form
unadulterated by civilization, artifice, or adornment; natural
archaic related by birth or race
go native (of a settler) to adopt the lifestyle of the local population, esp when it appears less civilized


(usually foll by of) a person born in a particular placea native of Geneva
(usually foll by of) a species originating in a particular place or areathe kangaroo is a native of Australia
a member of an indigenous people of a country or area, esp a non-White people, as opposed to colonial settlers and immigrants
offensive, old-fashioned any non-White
Derived Formsnatively, adverbnativeness, noun

Word Origin for native

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


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
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 native

late 14c., "natural, hereditary, connected with something in a natural way," from Old French natif "native, born in; raw, unspoiled" (14c.) and directly from Latin nativus "innate, produced by birth," from natus, past participle of nasci (Old Latin gnasci) "be born," related to gignere "beget," from PIE root *gene-/*gen- "to give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to familial and tribal groups (see genus). From late 15c. as "born in a particular place." From early 15c. as "of one's birth," also used from mid-15c. in sense of "bound; born in servitude or serfdom," also, as a noun "a bondsman, serf." Native American attested from 1956.


mid-15c., "person born in bondage," from native (adj.), and in some usages from Medieval Latin nativus, noun use of nativus (adj.). Cf. Old French naif, also "woman born in slavery." From 1530s as "person who has always lived in a place." Applied from 1650s to original inhabitants of non-European nations where Europeans hold political power, e.g., of American Indians, by 1630s; hence, used contemptuously of "the locals" from 1800. Related: Natives.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

native in Medicine




Originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region; indigenous.
Occurring in nature pure or uncombined with other substances.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

native in Science



Living or growing naturally in a particular place or region; indigenous.
Occurring in nature on its own, uncombined with other substances. Copper and gold are often found in native form.
Of or relating to the naturally occurring conformation of a macromolecule, such as a protein.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.