Definition of Olmeca in English:


Pronunciation /ɒlˈmɛkə/


  • 1A member of an American Indian people inhabiting the coast of southern Veracruz and western Tabasco in Mexico during the 15th and 16th centuries, to where they probably migrated during the 12th century from the Mexican altiplano.

  • 2Archaeology
    rare A member of a prehistoric civilization of the same area; = "Olmec".


Late 18th century. From Nahuatl Olmeca (plural of Olmecatl), lit. ‘inhabitants of the rubber country’, with reference to the rubber trees which grew abundantly in this region of the Mexican Gulf Coast.