What does tribe mean?

Definitions for tribe

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word tribe.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. tribe, folknoun

    a social division of (usually preliterate) people

  2. tribe, federation of tribesnoun

    a federation (as of American Indians)

  3. tribenoun

    (biology) a taxonomic category between a genus and a subfamily

  4. kin, kin group, kinship group, kindred, clan, tribenoun

    group of people related by blood or marriage


  1. tribenoun

    A socially, ethnically, and politically cohesive group of people.

  2. tribenoun

    A society larger than a band but smaller than a state.

  3. tribenoun

    The collective noun for various animals.

  4. tribenoun

    A hierarchal rank between family and genus.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Tribenoun

    Etymology: tribu, Fr. tribus, Lat. from trev, b and v being labials of promiscuous use in the ancient British words; trev from tir ef, his lands, is supposed to be Celtick, and used before the Romans had any thing to do with the British government; to prove which Mr. Rowland offers many reasons, which he mentions by imagining that centuriæ is derived from trev, supposing it to be the same with our centrev, importing a hundred trevs or tribes.

    I ha’ been writing all this night unto all the tribes
    And centuries for their voices, to help Catiline
    In his election. Ben Jonson, Cataline.

    If the heads of the tribes can be taken off, and the misled multitude will see their error, such extent of mercy is honourable. Francis Bacon, Advice to Villiers.

    Who now shall rear you to the sun, or rank
    Your tribes, and water from th’ ambrosial fount. John Milton.

    Straggling mountaineers, for publick good,
    To rank in tribes, and quit the savage wood,
    Houses to build. Nahum Tate.

    I congratulate my country upon the increase of this happy tribe of men, since, by the present parliament, the race of freeholders is spreading into the remotest corners. Addison.

    Folly and vice are easy to describe,
    The common subjects of our scribbling tribe. Wentworth Dillon.


  1. Tribe

    Tribe is a song by American rappers Bas and J. Cole. It was released on August 22, 2018, as the second single for Bas's album Milky Way. The song was produced by Childish Major with additional production from J. Cole, and contains a sample of "Zum Zum" performed by Edu Lobo.


  1. tribe

    A tribe is a social group made up of families, clans, or generations that share the same culture, customs, language, and often occupation, with its own leaders and often living in a particular area. It is usually characterized by a strong sense of community, shared morals, and common traditions or rituals. Tribes are often found in societal systems predating central governments.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Tribenoun

    a family, race, or series of generations, descending from the same progenitor, and kept distinct, as in the case of the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve sons of Jacob

  2. Tribenoun

    a number of species or genera having certain structural characteristics in common; as, a tribe of plants; a tribe of animals

  3. Tribenoun

    a nation of savages or uncivilized people; a body of rude people united under one leader or government; as, the tribes of the Six Nations; the Seneca tribe

  4. Tribenoun

    a division, class, or distinct portion of a people, from whatever cause that distinction may have originated; as, the city of Athens was divided into ten tribes

  5. Tribenoun

    a family of animals descended from some particular female progenitor, through the female line; as, the Duchess tribe of shorthorns

  6. Tribeverb

    to distribute into tribes or classes


  1. Tribe

    A tribe is viewed, historically or developmentally, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups. Traditional genealogy defines tribes as groups who have common blood relations. Some political economy theorists such as Elman Service hold that tribes represent a stage in social evolution intermediate between bands and states. Other theorists, such as Morton Fried, argue that tribes developed after, and must be understood in terms of their relationship to, states. 'Tribe' is a contested term due to its roots in colonial anthropological foundations and the connotations that these hierarchical definitions have negative connotations. To avoid these implications, some have chosen to use the terms 'ethnic group', or nation instead.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Tribe

    trīb, n. an aggregate of stocks—a stock being an aggregate of persons considered to be kindred—or an aggregate of families, forming a community usually under the government of a chief: a number of things having certain common qualities.—adj. Trib′al.—n. Trib′alism.—adv. Trib′ally.—ns. Tribe′let; Tribes′man. [L. tribus, orig. applied to one of the three divisions of the ancient Roman people—tri-, tres, three.]


  1. Tribe

    Tribe is a social network started in the San Francisco bay area.Tribe is similar to social networks like Facebook and MySpace, but allows users to create their own personal networks with other users; forming “tribes.” Anyone may register as a new tribe user, and may then define their immediate network of friends, either by choosing from existing members or by inviting new members to join. Each of these users may in turn define their own network of friends.

Suggested Resources

  1. tribe

    Song lyrics by tribe -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by tribe on the Lyrics.com website.


  1. Tribe

    a term of classification less than a sub-family: opinionative and ending in ini: but this is not universally adhered to.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. TRIBE

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Tribe is ranked #36379 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Tribe surname appeared 615 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Tribe.

    92.6% or 570 total occurrences were White.
    4% or 25 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.6% or 10 total occurrences were Black.
    1.3% or 8 total occurrences were of two or more races.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'tribe' in Nouns Frequency: #2467

Anagrams for tribe »

  1. biter

  2. rebit

  3. Tiber

How to pronounce tribe?

How to say tribe in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of tribe in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of tribe in Pythagorean Numerology is: 9

Examples of tribe in a Sentence

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

    Our loyalties must transend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation and this means we must develop a world perspective.

  2. Jeanine Borchardt:

    The role of a tribal official is to act to make the tribe better, but the actions of Gari Lafferty since she took office have served neither the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah nor its elected council.

  3. Ayn Rand:

    Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

  4. Russell Smith:

    An Indian tribe is sovereign to the extent that the U.S. permits it to be sovereign.

  5. Howard Watts:

    It's something that is still deeply hurtful, there are still members of the Washoe Tribe and others who know exactly what it means when Washoe Tribe goes off.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for tribe

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"tribe." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/tribe>.

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    the reduction of expenditures in order to become financially stable
    • A. value
    • B. fancy
    • C. downsizing
    • D. bowel

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