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An Aboriginal Australian boy watching a man spinning string

Alternative forms[edit]


From Ancient Greek αὐτόχθων (autókhthōn, indigenous), from αὐτός (autós, self) + χθών (khthṓn, earth, soil).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ɔːˈtɒkθ(ə)n/, /ɔːˈtɒkθɒn/
  • (file)
  • (General American) IPA(key): /ɔˈtɑkθ(ə)n/, /ɔˈtɑkˌθɑn/, /ɑˈtɑkθ(ə)n/, /ɑˈtɑkˌθɑn/
  • Hyphenation: au‧toch‧thon


autochthon (plural autochthons or autochthones)

  1. The earliest inhabitant of an area; an aborigine.
    • 1901, “Jacobus X” [pseudonym], The Basis of Passional Psychology: A Study of the Laws of Love in Man and the Lower Animals, Paris: Charles Carrington, OCLC 18034028, page 279:
      The Foreigner by his Intercourse with an Autocthon has an Autocthon Progeny. Wherever a type is found in the population of a country, there it is still found in spite of innumerable crossings; []
    • 1966, J. Ex, Adjustment after Migration: A Longitudinal Study of the Process of Adjustment by Refugees to a New Environment (Publications of the Research Group for European Migration Problems; XIII), The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, DOI:10.1007/978-94-011-6792-5, OCLC 9136334:
      This fact points to the great sensitivity on the part of these refugees for the autochthon’s opinion and attitude concerning them. [] Diagram 7 which tells us something of the way in which the refugee experiences the relationship between himself and the autochthon, leaves no doubt of the refugees’ feeling of inferiority.
    • 1987, Johan Leman, “The Italian and Sicilian Immigration in Belgium”, in From Challenging Culture to Challenged Culture: The Sicilian Cultural Code and the Socio-cultural Praxis of Sicilian Immigrants in Belgium (Studia Anthropologica), Leuven: Leuven University Press, →ISBN, page 80:
      One who comes to live in such a district does not separate his life entirely from the autochthon social reality, but the two realities, autochthon and immigrant, are not simple extensions of one another. In fact, there is a socio-cultural barrier behind which the autochthon population seeks protection from the colorful clusters of foreigners around it.
    • 2006, T. David Curp, “Counterrevolution from Above and Abroad: The Delocalization of Politics and the Beginning of Polish Stalinism's Antinational Counterrevolution, 1947–49”, in A Clean Sweep?: The Politics of Ethnic Cleansing in Western Poland, 1945–1960 (Rochester Studies in Central Europe; 7), Rochester, N.Y.: University of Rochester Press, →ISBN, page 85:
      The autochthons’ defenders had sought to endow them with a special status in Poland, the better to buttress Poland’s claims to the Recovered Territories. In spite of these efforts, the autochthons remained a small but persistent problem for officials and the population at large.
    • 2014, Maurits S. Berger, “The Netherlands”, in Jocelyne Cesari, editor, The Oxford Handbook of European Islam, Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 181:
      [] Muslims are more active in municipal and national politics by means of demonstrations, petitions, contacting media, meetings, or other activities. In this respect, the non-Western allochthones (that includes the Muslims) score almost as high as the autochthones, that is 25–30% [] An interesting aspect of this 2002 survey was the enquiry into the motives for which one was willing to undertake political action: if it is the defence of human rights, 51% of autochthones are motivated, 28% of the Turks, and 38% of the Moroccans; if it is the defence of Islam, 59% of the Moroccans will take action, Turks 29%, and autochthones nil (Phalet and van der Wall 2004).
  2. (geology) A large mass of rock in the place of its original formation, rooted to its basement (foundation rock) as opposed to an allochthon or nappe which has shifted from the place of formation; an autochthonous rock formation.
    • 1967, E-An Zen, “Introduction”, in Time and Space Relationships of the Taconic Allochthon and Autochthon (Special GSA Papers; no. 97), New York, N.Y.: Geological Society of America, OCLC 898797589, page 6:
      These rocks are lithically identical with the Normanskill in the allochthon but differ from the correlative Hortonville or Walloomsac Slates [] of the autochthon. [] In the light of Warthin's findings and the absence of evidence to the contrary, the pelitic rocks that geometrically overlie the Cambrian and Ordovician carbonate rocks in the Pine Plains (E10) area (Knopf, 1962) are included in the autochthon.
    • 1994, John A. Grow [et al.], “Structure of the Békés Basin Inferred from Seismic Reflection, Well and Gravity Data”, in Paul G. Teleki, Robert E. Mattick, and János Kókai, editors, Basin Analysis in Petroleum Exploration: A Case Study from the Békés Basin, Hungary, Dordrecht; Boston, Mass.: Kluwer Academic Publishers, DOI:10.1007/978-94-011-0954-3, →ISBN, page 27:
      The Mesozoic rock units in the Békés-Doboz trough appear to correlate to similar age rock units of the Bihor autochthon in the Apuseni Mountains of Romania rather than to rock units of the Codru nappe system. Rock units of the Bihor autochthon differ from rock units of the Codru nappe system in 3 main aspects: []

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]




autochthon (not comparable)

  1. autochthonous (native to the place where found)




Further reading[edit]