[ ney-tiv ]
/ ˈneɪ tɪv /
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See synonyms for: native / natives / natively on Thesaurus.com

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Idioms about native

    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): 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

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; cf. -ive

usage note for native

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 ).


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use native in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for native

/ (ˈneɪtɪv) /


Derived forms of native

natively, adverbnativeness, noun

Word Origin for native

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

usage for native

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

Scientific definitions for native

[ nātĭv ]

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.