Difference Between Native and Indigenous

Main Difference – Native vs Indigenous

The two terms native and indigenous have similar meanings; they both refer to living or non-living things that belong to a particular place by birth. Even the dictionary definitions of these two terms overlap to a great extent. For example, the Oxford dictionary defines indigenous by using the term native. Thus, native and indigenous are similar in meaning. However, there is a subtle difference between native and indigenous in terms of usage. The main difference between native and indigenous is that indigenous is often used to the non-white, original inhabitants of a place and the usage of native to refer to non-white, original inhabitants of a place can cause offense.

This article covers,

1. What Does Native Mean? – Definition, Meaning and Usage

2. What Does Indigenous Mean? – Definition, Meaning and Usage

3. What is the difference between Native and Indigenous?Difference Between Native and Indigenous - Comparison Summary

What Does Native Mean – Definition, Meaning and Usage

The term native is derived from Latin nativus; the affix nat- refers to birth. Thus, native can be defined as belonging to a particular place by birth. The adjective native can be used with plants, animals as well as people. As a noun, native specifically refers to people born in a specific location. The following examples will help you to understand the different meanings of native.

She is a native of Montreal.

They returned to their native country after 25 years.

California Fremontia is a flowering shrub native to southwestern North America.

Bengal tiger is native to the Indian subcontinent.

This island is home to several native species of flowering plants.

The temperature was unbearable even for the natives.                    

Although the term native is used to refer to people born in a particular place, the term native is also used to refer to non-white, original inhabitants of a country. However, this usage may sometimes cause offense due to its associations with a European colonial outlook.

Main Difference - Native vs Indigenous

Joshua tree is native to arid southwestern North America.

What Does Indigenous Mean – Definition, Meaning and Usage

Indigenous is an adjective that can be defined as “produced, living, or existing naturally in a particular region or environment”. This term indigenous can also be used to refer to plants, animals, and people. Look at the following examples to understand the meaning of the term indigenous.

Marigold is indigenous to southern Europe.

Several indigenous groups live in that area.

Discrimination against indigenous people is punishable by law.

Indigenous plants cannot be taken out of the country.

The term indigenous is often used to refer to non-white, original inhabitants of a country. Government institutions, as well as organizations like United Nations, generally use this term to refer to these people. This is considered to be more polite and politically correct than native.

However, finding out the name preferred by the particular group of people and using that name instead of using general terms like native and indigenous is always a better and respectful method.

Difference Between Native and Indigenous

European settlers with Indigenous people in South Australia

Difference Between Native and Indigenous

Parts of Speech

Native is a noun and an adjective.

Indigenous is an adjective.

Definition 

Native can be defined as “belonging to a particular place by birth.”

Indigenous can be defined as “produced, living, or existing naturally in a particular region or environment”.

Adjective

Native can be used with plants, animals as well as people.

Indigenous can also be used with plants, animals as well as people.

Noun 

Native specifically refers to people born in a specific location.

Indigenous is not used as a noun.

Usage

Native is not much used to refer to the non-white, original inhabitants of a country.

Indigenous is often used to refer to the non-white, original inhabitants of a country.

Image Courtesy:

“Joshua Tree NP – Joshua Tree 2.” By Jarek Tuszyński ) via

“Alexander Schramm – A scene in South Australia – Google Art Project” By Alexander SCHRAMM (1813 – 1864) (Australia) at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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