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tribe definition


This page has 10 definitions of tribe in English and Middle English. Tribe is a noun and verb. Examples of how to use tribe in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Tribe

English tribe definition


PIE word

From Middle English tribe, tribu, from Old French tribu, from Latin tribus. Doublet of tribus.



tribe (plural tribes)

  1. A socially, ethnically, or politically cohesive group of people.
    • 2005, Sean Dooley, The Big Twitch, Sydney: Allen and Unwin, page 26:
      The thought of spending a year in close company with twitchers chilled me to the core. Not that I have anything against them, I am terribly fond of the members of the tribe, it is just that basically, they are a bunch of obsessive freaks.
  2. (anthropology) A society larger than a band but smaller than a state.
  3. (zoology) A group of apes who live and work together.
  4. (taxonomy) A hierarchal rank between family and genus.
  5. The collective noun for various animals.
  6. (stock breeding) A family of animals descended from some particular female progenitor, through the female line.
    the Duchess tribe of shorthorns


Derived terms



tribe (third-person singular simple present tribes, present participle tribing, simple past and past participle tribed)

  1. (transitive) To distribute into tribes or classes; to categorize.
    • 1696-1699, William Nicolson, English Historical Library
      Our fowl, fish, and quadruped are well tribed.

See also


Middle English tribe definition

Alternative forms


From Old French tribu, from Latin tribus.


  • IPA(key): /ˈtriːb(ə)/, /ˈtriːbu/


tribe (plural tribus)

  1. One of the twelve tribes of Israel.
  2. (rare) Any tribe or kin group.
  3. (rare) A league or grouping.