Other forms: tribes

A tribe is a traditional social group of people. Most tribes have existed much longer than existing states and countries.

Tribes follow rules and traditions that aren't connected to modern-day governments or mainstream societies. Indigenous people of North America lived (and many continue to live) in tribes, although the word itself is controversial — many of their members prefer the terms nation or ethnic group instead. Sometimes tribe is used to simply mean "family" or "clan," or even a large group: "A tribe of college students roamed the streets."

Definitions of tribe
  1. noun
    a social division of (usually preliterate) people
    synonyms: folk
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    a tribe of ancient Athenians
    type of:
    social group
    people sharing some social relation
  2. noun
    a federation (as of American Indians)
    synonyms: federation of tribes
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    type of:
    a federation of tribes (especially Native American tribes)
  3. noun
    group of people related by blood or marriage
    synonyms: clan, kin, kin group, kindred, kinship group
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    mishpachah, mishpocha
    (Yiddish) the entire family network of relatives by blood or marriage (and sometimes close friends)
    family, family unit
    primary social group; parents and children
    your parents
    family tree, genealogy
    successive generations of kin
    a clan or tribe identified by their kinship to a common totemic object
    Tribes of Israel, Twelve Tribes of Israel
    twelve kin groups of ancient Israel each traditionally descended from one of the twelve sons of Jacob
    couple, match, mates
    a pair of people who live together
    man and wife, marriage, married couple
    two people who are married to each other
    ancestry, blood, blood line, bloodline, descent, line, line of descent, lineage, origin, parentage, pedigree, stemma, stock
    the lineage of an individual
    Lost Tribes
    the ten Tribes of Israel that were deported into captivity in Assyria around 720 BC (leaving only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin)
    type of:
    social group
    people sharing some social relation
  4. noun
    (biology) a taxonomic category between a genus and a subfamily
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    Bovini, tribe Bovini
    term not used technically; essentially coextensive with genus Bos
    Bambuseae, tribe Bambuseae
    type of:
    taxon, taxonomic category, taxonomic group
    animal or plant group having natural relations




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘tribe'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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