(initial capital letter) (in Polynesian mythology) the first man on earth.
(in Polynesian cultures) a carved image, as of a god or ancestor, sometimes worn as a pendant around the neck.

Origin of tiki

1875–80; < Maori and Marquesan
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tiki

Contemporary Examples of tiki

Historical Examples of tiki

  • Tiki was the first man, and when he died, ruled the entrance of the under-world.

    Evolution in Art

    Alfred C. Haddon

  • As he had made man in his own likeness he called him Tiki-ahua or Tiki's likeness.

    Darwin and Modern Science

    A.C. Seward and Others

  • To the Marquesan these are all tiki, or charms, which have superseded their own.

  • I have never looked upon Brutus as anything of an original genius, but Tiki Whenua most certainly was.

    Old New Zealand

    Earl of Pembroke.

  • Man was made by Tiki, who took red clay, and kneaded it with his own blood, or with the red water of swamps.

British Dictionary definitions for tiki



an amulet or figurine in the form of a carved representation of an ancestor, worn in some Māori cultures


(intr) NZ to take a scenic tour around an area

Word Origin for tiki

from Māori
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 tiki



"large wooden image of the creator-ancestor of Maoris and Polynesians," 1777, from Eastern Polynesian tiki "image." Tiki torch is first recorded 1973.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper