1. c1720–69, North American Indian, chief of the Ottawa tribe: commander during the Pontiac War 1763–64.
  2. a city in SE Michigan.
  3. a town in central Illinois.
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British Dictionary definitions for pontiac


  1. died 1769, chief of the Ottawa Indians, who led a rebellion against the British (1763–66)
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 pontiac


Ottawa tribal leader (c.1720-1769), his name is given in native (Algonquian) form as bwandiag. The city in Michigan, U.S., settled in 1818, was named for him as he is said to be buried nearby. The automobile brand was begun in 1926, discontinued 2010.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper