Word Origin & History
1858, mistaken singular of aborigines (1540s; the correct singular is aboriginal), from L. Aborigines "the first inhabitants" (especially of Latium), possibly a tribal name, or from ab origine, lit. "from the beginning." Extended 1789 to natives of other countries which Europeans have colonized. Australian
slang shortening Abo attested from 1922.
1660s, "first, earliest," esp. in ref. to inhabitants of lands colonized by Europeans, from aborigines (see aborigine
); specific Australian sense is from 1820. The noun is attested from 1767.