(1)   Belonging to one by birth
"My native land"
"One's native language"
(2)   Characteristic of or existing by virtue of geographic origin
"The native North American sugar maple"
"Many native artists studied abroad"
(3)   Characteristic of or relating to people inhabiting a region from the beginning
"Native Americans"
"The aboriginal peoples of Australia"
(4)   As found in nature in the elemental form
"Native copper"


(5)   A person who was born in a particular place; an indigenous person


From natif, from nativus, from natus, ‘birth’.


  1. Belonging to one by birth.
    This is my native land.
    English is not my native language.
    I need a volunteer native New Yorker for my next joke…
  2. Characteristic of or relating to people inhabiting a region from the beginning.
    What are now called ‘native Americans’ used to be called Indians.
    The native peoples of Australia are called aborigines.
  3. Of or relating to North American Indians or Aboriginal people.
  4. Characteristic of or existing by virtue of geographic origin.
    Many native artists studied abroad.
  5. Which occurs of its own accord in a given locality, to be contrasted with a species introduced by man.
    The naturalized Norway maple often outcompetes the native North American sugar maple.
  6. Pertaining to the system or architecture in question.
    This is a native back-end to gather the latest news feeds.
    The native integer size is sixteen bits.
  7. Occurring naturally in its pure or uncombined form; native aluminium, native salt.


  1. A person who is native to a place (literal or metaphoric).
    • She is a regular Wiki* native.
    1. A North American Indian or Aboriginal person.
  2. Sometimes used pejoratively against indigenous peoples by their colonizers.
    • Some natives must have stolen our cattle.

Usage notes

(North American) was adopted as an ethnonym when dropped out of favour in formal use, due to its association with Christopher Columbus mistaking North America for India. More precise names are , , or .

In Canada, specific terms for Aboriginal peoples are preferable in formal writing: (adj.), , and . is also used in some contexts, but not appropriate in others.