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[in-dij-uh-nuh s] /ɪnˈdɪdʒ ə nəs/
originating in and characteristic of a particular region or country; native (often followed by to):
the plants indigenous to Canada; the indigenous peoples of southern Africa.
innate; inherent; natural (usually followed by to):
feelings indigenous to human beings.
Origin of indigenous
1640-50; < Latin indigen(a) native, original inhabitant (indi-, by-form of in- in-2 (cf. indagate) + -gena, derivative from base of gignere to bring into being; cf. genital, genitor) + -ous
Related forms
indigenously, adverb
indigenousness, indigenity
[in-di-jen-i-tee] /ˌɪn dɪˈdʒɛn ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
nonindigenous, adjective
unindigenous, adjective
unindigenously, adverb
Can be confused
endogenous, indigenous.
1. autochthonous, aboriginal, natural.
1. foreign, alien. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for indigenous
  • So did the introduction of non-native species that competed for resources with, and sometimes preyed on, indigenous birds.
  • In the distant past, scientists often ignored and even made fun of the knowledge of indigenous people.
  • They say that being indigenous doesn't grant a species special rights to inhabit an ecosystem.
  • But other researchers employ a different strategy, consulting indigenous people when possible.
  • Since these are small indigenous countries, they will collapse slower, and show rapid signs of a false recovery.
  • indigenous recycling plans are developing rapidly, and therein lies the danger.
  • These policies encapsulate human capital, both indigenous and from immigration.
  • Successful imperial militaries have traditionally fought alongside indigenous troops.
  • But there is now an indigenous environmental movement.
  • Next, we'll visit a tiny farming community where local farmers cultivate indigenous ragi grain without the use of pesticides.
British Dictionary definitions for indigenous


adjective when postpositive, foll by to
originating or occurring naturally (in a country, region, etc); native
innate (to); inherent (in)
Derived Forms
indigenously, adverb
indigenousness, indigenity (ˌɪndɪˈdʒɛnɪtɪ) noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin indigenus, from indigena indigene, from indi- in + gignere to beget
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 indigenous

1640s, from Late Latin indigenus "born in a country, native," from Latin indigena "sprung from the land," as a noun, "a native," literally "in-born," or "born in (a place)," from Old Latin indu "in, within" (earlier endo) + *gene-, root of gignere (perf. genui) "beget," from PIE *gen- "produce" (see genus).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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indigenous in Science
Native to a particular region or environment but occurring naturally in other places as well. The American black bear is indigenous to many different parts of North America. Compare alien, endemic.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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