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native (adj.)

late 14c., natif, "natural, inborn, hereditary, connected with something in a natural way," from Old French natif "native, born in; raw, unspoiled" (14c.) and directly from Latin nativus "innate, produced by birth," from natus, past participle of nasci (Old Latin gnasci) "be born," related to gignere "beget," from PIE root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups.

From early 15c. as "born in a particular place, of indigenous origin or growth, not exotic or foreign," also "of or pertaining to one by birth" (as in native land). Also used from early 15c. in a now-obsolete sense of "bound; born in servitude or serfdom." Of metals, minerals, etc., "occurring in a pure state in nature," 1690s. Native American is attested from 1956.

native (n.)

mid-15c., "person born in bondage, one born a serf or villein," a sense now obsolete, from native (adj.), and in some usages from Medieval Latin nativus, noun use of nativus (adj.). Compare Old French naif, which also meant "woman born in slavery." From 1530s as "one born in a certain place or country." Applied from c. 1600 to original inhabitants of non-European nations where Europeans hold political power, for example American Indians (by 1630s); hence, used contemptuously of "the locals" from 1800. Related: Natives.

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