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aboriginal +‎ -ly


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌæb.əˌɹɪd͡ʒ.n̩.ə.li/, /ˌæb.əˌɹɪd͡ʒ.ɪn.ə.li/


aboriginally (not comparable)

  1. From or in the earliest known times. [First attested in the early 19th century.][1]
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 58,[1]
      [] man has lost that sense of the full awfulness of the sea which aboriginally belongs to it.
    • 1868, Charles Darwin, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication, London: John Murray, Volume , Chapter 2, pp. 52-53,[2]
      [] aboriginally the horse must have inhabited countries annually covered with snow, for he long retains the instinct of scraping it away to get at the herbage beneath.
    • 2006, Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within, New York: Gotham, Part 2, Chapter 2, p. 145,[3]
      [] music, like verse, can do rhythm but it is only poetry that can yoke words together in rhyme (sometimes, of course, and aboriginally, at the service of music).
  2. In the period before contact with Europeans (especially with reference to peoples subjected to colonization).
    • 1896, Allan Eric, “Buckra” Land: Two Weeks in Jamaica, Boston, Appendix,,[4]
      Xaymaca, as the island was aboriginally known, is situated in the Caribbean Sea []
    • 1973, Charles F. Hockett, Man’s Place in Nature, New York: McGraw-Hill, Chapter 31, p. 523,[5]
      [] in the New World, where pots were never aboriginally shaped by turning, wheeled vehicles also were absent []
    • 1986, Robert L. Blakely and David S. Mathews, “What Price Civilization?” in Miles Richardson and Malcolm C. Webb (eds.), The Burden of Being Civilized: An Anthropological Perspective on the Discontents of Civilization, Athens: University of Georgia Press, p. 12,[6]
      The question is, was the disease [tuberculosis] present aboriginally in the New World, or was it introduced to Native Americans by European explorers?
  3. (Canada) By indigenous Canadians (often capitalized in this sense). [First attested in the 1980s.]
    • 1987, Kate Irving, What Government Does in the Western Northwest Territories, Yellowknife: Western Constitutional Forum,[7]
      All land subject to the claim becomes either Crown land or aboriginally-owned land.
    • 1991, Jim Harding, An Annotated Bibliography of Aboriginal-controlled Justice Programs in Canada, Prairie Justice Research, School of Human Justice, University of Regina, p. 80,[8]
      It appears that lack of funding and control led to the demise of this program, but that with further refinement the idea has merit especially within an Aboriginally-controlled justice system.
    • 2002, Bradford W. Morse and Robert K. Groves, “Métis and Non-status Indians and Section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867” in Paul L.A.H. Chartrand (ed.), Who Are Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples? Saskatoon: Purich Publishing, pp. 209-210,[9]
      These areas [] relate to the identity of Aboriginally predominant communities.
  4. To the utmost degree (modifying an adjective).
    Synonyms: absolutely, thoroughly, utterly
    • 1920, Greville MacDonald, The Sanity of William Blake, London: George Allen and Unwin, p. 24,[10]
      Though his rage against iniquity is aboriginally simple and childlike, and is certainly not always level-headed, it is never divorced from reason []
    • 1931, G. K. Chesterton, “Dickens at Christmas” in Marie Smith (ed.), The Spirit of Christmas: Stories, Poems, Essays, New York: Dodd, Mead, 1985, p. 77,[11]
      There is something aboriginally absurd in the idea of the old gentleman staring wild-eyed at his own legs; and half recalling something familiar about them; as if he were revisiting the landscape of his youth.
    • 1978, Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea, London: Chatto & Windus, Chapter 3, pp. 181-182,[12]
      Dried apricots eaten with cake should be soaked and simmered first, eaten with cheese they should be aboriginally dry.
    • 2005, Bella Bathurst, The Wreckers, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Chapter 5, p. 152,[13]
      [] those travellers who did make the trip [to the Western Isles] returned with stories which made Scotland and the Scots sound as aboriginally exotic as shark-eating Eskimos or man-eating pygmies.


  1. ^ “aboriginally” in Lesley Brown, editor-in-chief; William R. Trumble and Angus Stevenson, editors, The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles, 5th edition, Oxford; New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2002, →ISBN, page 6.