• synonyms


[trahy-buh l]
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  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of a tribe: tribal customs.
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Origin of tribal

First recorded in 1625–35; tribe + -al1
Related formstrib·al·ly, adverbnon·trib·al, adjectivenon·trib·al·ly, adverbpre·trib·al, adjectivepseu·do·trib·al, adjectivepseu·do·trib·al·ly, adverbqua·si-trib·al, adjectivequa·si-trib·al·ly, adverbsub·trib·al, adjectiveun·trib·al, adjectiveun·trib·al·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for tribal

genetic, national, tribal, traditional, indigenous, familial, native, ancestral, folk, hereditary, genealogical, lineal, phyletic, phylogenetic, affiliated, congenital, consanguine, consanguineous, inborn, inbred

Examples from the Web for tribal

Contemporary Examples of tribal

Historical Examples of tribal

British Dictionary definitions for tribal


  1. of or denoting a tribe or tribestribal chiefs in northern Yemen
  2. displaying loyalty to a tribe, group, or tribal valuesthe tribal loyalties of Labour MPs
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Derived Formstribally, adverb
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 tribal


1630s, "pertaining to tribes," from tribe + -al (1). Related: Tribally Meaning "characterized by a strong sense of loyalty to one's group" is from 1951 (Arendt). As a style of belly-dance from 1999, American English.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper