Use indigenous to describe a plant, animal or person that is native or original to an area. Though Switzerland is known for its chocolates, chocolate, which comes from the cocoa plant, is indigenous to South America.

Indigenous, aboriginal, and native all mean the same thing. Aboriginal, however, is commonly used in connection with Australia, and native with North America. The most neutral of the three terms, indigenous comes from the Latin word, indigena meaning "a native." An indigenous ceremony or religion is one traditionally used by a certain group of people.

Definitions of indigenous
  1. adjective
    originating where it is found
    “the Ainu are indigenous to the northernmost islands of Japan”
    synonyms: autochthonal, autochthonic, autochthonous, endemic
    characteristic of or existing by virtue of geographic origin
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week