I was at the County Library today, and on a whim, I pulled out the Oxford English Dictionary to see of the definition of “natural-born” had changed since my older edition was published. It hadn’t, but while there I looked up another word, “native.” There were two entries for the word, both with multiple definitions.

I didn’t write down the first entry that had at least 9 definitions, some of which refer to where someone comes from. I would say that I am a “native of Alabama” and everyone would understand that Alabama is where I was born.

The other entry is what I though worth copying. First, the derivation originated in the Latin word nativus meaning “produced by birth, innate, natural.” The first definition was:

I. 1. a. Belonging to, or connected with, a person or thing by nature or natural constitution, in contrast to what is acquired or superadded: esp. of qualities which are inherited or innate in a person or thing.

I see all sorts of interpretations of the word “native” in the natural born citizen discussion, and I just want folks to be aware that there are multiple meanings of that word.

For reference, I snapped a photo of the “natural-born” entry.


About Dr. Conspiracy

I'm not a real doctor, but I have a master's degree.
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4 Responses to Native

  1. Curious George says:

    I found a definition that may be associated with Birthers in my 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary while looking up the words “native” and “natural.”

    “NATURAL, n. An idiot; one born without the usual powers of reason or understanding…”

  2. Curious George says:

    Cruz is not eligible to be president… Opinion: Washington Post

  3. gorefan says:

    For Samuel Johnson’s 1755 definition of native see here

  4. The definition for “natural” in the Oxford has as its first synonym “native” for the relevant period.

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