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Athabaskan

[ath-uh-bas-kuh n] /ˌæθ əˈbæs kən/
noun
1.
a family of languages spoken by American Indians in most of inland northwest Canada and Alaska, in coastal Oregon and California, and in Arizona and the Rio Grande basin, and including especially Navajo, Apache, and Chipewyan.
Compare family (def 14).
2.
a member of any of various American Indian peoples speaking Athabaskan.
adjective
3.
belonging to or characteristic of the Athabaskans.
Also, Athabascan, Athapaskan, Athapascan.
Origin
Woods Cree
1770-1780
1770-80; earlier Athapasca(s), introduced as a term for the Canadian Athabaskans (< Woods Cree ahδapaska·w Lake Athabaska, literally, there are reeds here and there < Proto-Algonquian *aʔlap(y)- net, reticulated + *-ašk- plant + derivational elements) + -an
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for athabascan

Athapascan

/ˌæθəˈpæskən/
noun
1.
a group of North American Indian languages belonging to the Na-Dene phylum, including Apache and Navaho
2.
a speaker of one of these languages
Word Origin
from Cree athapaskaaw scattered grass or reeds
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
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Word Origin and History for athabascan

Athabascan

1846, Athapaskan, from the name of the North American Indian people, from Lake Athabaska in northern Alberta, Canada, from Woods Cree (Algonquian) Athapaskaw, said by Webster to mean literally "grass or reeds here and there," referring to the delta region west of the lake. Also in reference to their language group.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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