Random House Dictionary

  1. being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being: one’s native land.
  2. belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature; inherent: native ability; native grace.
  3. belonging by birth to a people regarded as indigenous to a certain place, esp. a preliterate people: Native guides accompanied the expedition through the rain forest.
  4. of indigenous origin, growth, or production: native pottery.
  5. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the indigenous inhabitants of a place or country: native customs; native dress.
  6. born in a particular place or country: a native New Yorker

    Origin:  L nativus inborn, natural, equiv. to nat(us) (ptp. of nasci to be born) + -ivus -ive;


  1. inborn , innate <native talents>
  2. belonging to a particular place by birth <native to Wisconsin>
  3. archaic : closely related
  4. belonging to or associated with one by birth
  5. natural , normal
  6. a) grown, produced, or originating in a particular place or in the vicinity : local  b) living or growing naturally in a particular region : indigenous
  7. simple , unaffected
  8. a) constituting the original substance or source  b) found in nature especially in an unadulterated form <mining native silver>

    Etymology:  from Latin nativus, from natus, past participle of nasci to be born

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary


  1. [before noun] relating to or describing someone’s country or place of birth or someone who was born in a particular country or place: She returned to live and work in her native Japan.  She’s a native Californian.
  2. describes plants and animals which grow naturally in a place, and have not been brought there from somewhere else: Henderson Island in the Pacific has more than 55 species of native flowering plants. The horse is not native to America – it was introduced by the Spanish.
  3. [before noun] relating to the first people to live in an area: The Aborigines are the native inhabitants of Australia. the native population native customs and traditions See also indigenous.
  4. your native language/tongue the first language that you learn: French is his native tongue.
  5. [before noun] A native ability or characteristic is one that a person or thing has naturally and is part of their basic character: his native wit See also innate.


  1. a person who was born in a particular place, or a plant or animal that lives or grows naturally in a place and has not been brought from somewhere else:a native of Monaco The red squirrel is a native of Britain.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition.


  1. Existing in or belonging to one by nature; innate: native ability.
  2. Being such by birth or origin: a native Scot.
  3. Being one’s own because of the place or circumstances of one’s birth: our native land.
  4. Originating, growing, or produced in a certain place or region; indigenous: a plant native to Asia.
  5. a) Being a member of the original inhabitants of a particular place. b) Of, belonging to, or characteristic of such inhabitants: native dress; the native diet of Polynesia.
  6. Occurring in nature pure or uncombined with other substances: native copper.
  7. Natural; unaffected: native beauty.
  8. Archaic Closely related, as by birth or race.


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