Definition of Navajo in English:


(also Navaho)

Pronunciation /ˈnävəˌhō/ /ˈnɑvəˌhoʊ/ /ˈnavəˌhō/ /ˈnævəˌhoʊ/

nounNavajo, Navajos

  • 1A member of a North American people of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.

    Also called Diné

    ‘It appeared that Navajos and other American Indians made up over ninety percent of those attending.’
    • ‘Pueblo auxiliaries were often required to fight with Spanish troops against either Apaches, Navajos, Utes, or Comanches, depending upon Spanish Indian policies and alliances at any given time.’
    • ‘As an Indian agent in New Mexico in the 1850s, Carson had to balance competing desires and needs of Anglos, Apaches, Hispanos, Navajos, Pueblos, and Utes.’
    • ‘The contemporary government of the Navajos is the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona.’
    • ‘There are also Indians from other tribes who have moved into Tahlequah: Creeks, Kiowas, Osages, and even Navajos.’
    • ‘Carson was then an Indian agent helping the army subdue the Navajos and Apaches.’
    • ‘When Spaniards first encountered the Apaches and Navajos in the sixteenth century, they could not tell them apart and referred to the Navajo as Apaches de Navajo.’
    • ‘As with other American Indian languages and cultures, those of the Navajos have undergone and continue to undergo tremendous changes.’
    • ‘The breed was brought to this country 500 years ago by Spanish settlers, and Navajos have embraced and raised the breed since then.’
    • ‘The Navajos have a chant: ‘Remember what you have seen, because everything forgotten returns to the circling winds.’’
    • ‘Her father was Navajo; her mother's Caucasian.’
    • ‘But fewer and fewer Navajo can make that choice.’
    • ‘Hundreds of Navajo died during the 400-mile Long Walk and the ensuing four-year exile at Bosque Redondo.’
  • 2The Athabaskan language of the Navajo.

    ‘Navajo citizens are choosing to speak English rather than Navajo.’
    • ‘He actually wrote a highschool-level textbook of Navajo linguistics aimed at helping speakers of Navajo to discover the structure of their language.’
    • ‘In politics, however, Navajo remains the language of power.’
    • ‘Schools in Rock Point teach all classes in the local language - Navajo.’
    • ‘Those who converse in Navajo include monolingual speakers who are mostly of the greatgrandparent generation.’
    • ‘Typically, fifty percent of the students are dominant in Navajo, using their language in their social lives.’
    • ‘The other quarter is not likely to speak or understand Navajo at all.’
    • ‘Many wore traditional Navajo outfits and a small amount spoke in Navajo amongst themselves.’
    • ‘The difficulties language learners face as they make the transition from English to Navajo and from Navajo to English are described in this paper.’
    • ‘Unlike most other native American languages, Navajo is still in widespread and active use.’
    • ‘Through observation, one of the authors has noted that men and boys tend to speak Navajo more than women and girls.’
    • ‘Learning to read and write in Navajo is a painstaking process for all students.’
    • ‘Although it is an unwritten language with no alphabet or symbols, Navajo is as far from a ‘primitive, not-fully-evolved’ language as one could imagine.’
    • ‘Pueblos nearest the Navajos were apt to know Navajo.’
    • ‘Many students come to school proficient in neither Navajo nor English.’
    • ‘Their languages are no more similar to each other than English and Navajo.’
    • ‘By second grade students receive half of their instruction in English and half in Navajo.’
    • ‘She is an enrolled member and citizen of the Navajo Nation and is bilingual and biliterate in Navajo and English.’
    • ‘It included a free copy of the Sunday Times, in Navajo.’
    • ‘Kindergarten and first-grade students received total or almost total instruction in Navajo.’


  • Relating to the Navajo or their language.

    ‘All of the Navajo immersion students improved in their Navajo language skills.’
    • ‘Hogans are only part of his dream to preserve Navajo culture through language and traditions, but they offer tangible evidence of what a Navajo-inspired and operated enterprise can do.’
    • ‘All of these factors are contributing to the shift from Navajo to English language use in Navajo communities.’
    • ‘Furthermore, a series of thirteen consonants not present in English must be processed for language learners to comprehend Navajo speech.’
    • ‘Funding for Navajo language immersion schools is now threatened.’
    • ‘On a daily basis, however, the Navajo language continues to be used inconsistently in schools and the workplace.’
    • ‘Roughly speaking, those over 40 are more likely to be fully fluent and proficient in the Navajo language.’
    • ‘Educators struggle to keep the Navajo language alive, and there is a severe shortage of singers to conduct traditional ceremonies.’
    • ‘From the Navajo view, a language must exist before speech can occur, as form precedes substance.’
    • ‘In the end, it was agreed that subject matter would be taught in the Navajo language for at least half a day.’
    • ‘I grew up around Hopi and Navajo Indians all my life.’
    • ‘A counselor and a Navajo medicine man conduct the sessions.’
    • ‘Their different reasons for forming these collections comprise a rainbow of motives as complex as a Navajo sand painting.’
    • ‘This includes visits to ancient sites with an anthropologist, plus meetings with the Hopi and Navajo people.’
    • ‘The Pueblo and Navajo people use it in rituals when an infant first cries and smiles.’
    • ‘The language of Belin's poetry is a rich confluence of Navajo storytelling, urban realism, and intimate personal revelation.’
    • ‘This book is a great account of a school developed in a Navajo community to transmit cultural values and language to the next generation.’
    • ‘For centuries, Navajo Indians have survived by living off the land.’
    • ‘He shared his love of Navajo weaving, his collection of Navajo rugs and weaving tools.’
    • ‘Experience a unique view of Navajo culture through the eyes of Navajo women.’


From Spanish Apaches de Navajó ‘Apaches from Navajo’, from Tewa navahu ‘fields adjoining an arroyo’.