Meaning of “native” in the English Dictionary

"native" in British English

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uk /ˈneɪ.tɪv/ us /ˈneɪ.t̬ɪv/

B2 [ 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.

C2 used to refer to plants and animals that 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.

B2 [ 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
your native language/tongue

B2 the first language that you learn:

French is his native tongue.

[ 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

More examples


nativenoun [ C ]

uk /ˈneɪ.tɪv/ us /ˈneɪ.t̬ɪv/

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.

offensive old-fashioned someone who lived in a country, especially in Africa, before Europeans went there

(Definition of “native” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"native" in American English

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nativeadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈneɪ·t̬ɪv/

of or relating to the place where you were born:

This was his first visit to his native land in 30 years.
Larry is a native Texan (= He was born in Texas).
His native language is Spanish, but he speaks English without a trace of an accent.

Someone or something native to a place was born or started to develop there:

Corn is native to North America.

nativenoun [ C ]

us /ˈneɪ·t̬ɪv/

a person born in a particular place:

He was a native of Indianapolis and a graduate of Indiana University.

datedA native is also a person who was born and lived in a country before Europeans began to visit and live there:

Raleigh wanted the cooperation of the natives and treated the Indians with respect.
Note: This use is considered offensive.

(Definition of “native” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)