go native

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go native (third-person singular simple present goes native, present participle going native, simple past went native, past participle gone native)

  1. (idiomatic) To adopt the lifestyle or outlook of local inhabitants, especially when dwelling in a colonial region.
    Synonyms: acculturate, assimilate, integrate
    • 1900 December – 1901 October, Rudyard Kipling, chapter 7, in Kim (Macmillan’s Colonial Library; no. 414), London: Macmillan and Co., published 1901, →OCLC, page 177:
      [] for St. Xavier's looks down on boys who ‘go native all-together.’ One must never forget that one is a Sahib, and that some day, when examinations are passed, one will command natives.
    • 1919, W[illiam] Somerset Maugham, chapter 53, in The Moon and Sixpence, [New York, N.Y.]: Grosset & Dunlap Publishers [], →OCLC:
      He was an extraordinary figure, with his red beard and matted hair, and his great hairy chest. His feet were horny and scarred, so that I knew he went always bare foot. He had gone native with a vengeance.
    • 2003 October 14, Alan Riding, “The Colors of Paradise As Imagined by Gauguin”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      Yet while Gauguin went native, taking teenage mistresses, wearing local costumes and building his own wooden hut, his ultimate purpose was to impress the art world back home.
    • 2011, John Lenczowski, Full Spectrum Diplomacy and Grand Strategy: Reforming the Structure and Culture of U.S. Foreign Policy, Lexington Books, →ISBN, page 108:
      In the case of diplomats, the State Department has had to wrestle with criticisms that regional specialists—say, those who concentrate on the Arab world and speak Arabic—will suffer from “clientitis”: the disease of “going native,” of developing such sympathy for the people and culture of a given region that one begins to represent its interest to America rather than vice versa.
    • 2018, Robin Hanson, The Age of Em, page 49:
      Although I have tried to avoid bias, I may have failed. For example, I may have "gone native," a visitor seduced by the charms of a new exotic world.
  2. (idiomatic) Of a contractor or consultant, to begin working directly as an employee for a company and cease to work through a contracting firm or agency.
    • 1989, Arthur Ernest Fitzgerald, The Pentagonists, page 204:
      [] we had to stop putting job-hunting colonels in charge of AFPRO detachments in the plants. It almost always happened that they went native and began to represent the contractor rather than the government.

See also[edit]


  • go native”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.