1. A member of the indigenous or earliest known population of a region; a native.
2. often Aborigine Often Offensive A member of any of the indigenous peoples of Australia.
3. aborigines The flora and fauna native to a geographic area.
[Back-formation from pl. aborigines (taken as aborigine + -S1), from Latin aborīginēs, original inhabitants (folk etymology of the name of a pre-Roman tribe of Italy) : ab, from; see AB-1 + orīgine, ablative of orīgō, beginning; see ORIGIN.]
Usage Note: Until recently, Aborigine was the most common term for a member of one of the indigenous peoples of Australia, but it is now often considered offensive; the term Aboriginal Australian is generally preferred. See Usage Note at native.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.