English words from Algonquian

(the language of a group of American Indian tribes that lived in the valleys of the Ottawa River and of the northern tributaries of the St. Lawrence River)

The words in this unit have been compiled from a list of the "Algonquian" language. The parts of speeches and definitions were added from a variety of sources.

—The basic entries come from the "Word Source" section in the
Scott, Foresman Advanced Dictionary by E.L. Thorndike and Clarence L. Barnhart;
Scott, Foresman and Company; Glenview, Illinois; 1973; page 28.
totemism (s) (noun), (usually only in the singular)
Belief in the kinship of a group of people with a common emblem: "Totemism involves the use of images or symbols of natural objects that represent a tribe, a clan, a family, etc."
tupelo (s) (noun), tupelos (pl)
1. A tall deciduous tree of the genus Nyssa with simple leaves and a kind of greenish-white flower later developing into  a round stone fruit."

"Tupelos can be found in North American and Asian swamps and rivers; well known varieties are the black gum and cotton gum trees."

"Bill decided not to use tupelo for making a cabinet because the wood was too soft."

2. Etymology: American English, apparently borrowed from Algonquian (Cree) ito opilwa "swamp tree".
—Based on information from
The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology; The H.W. Wilson Company;
Bronxville, New York; 1988; page 1,175.
wampum (s) (noun), wampums (or) wampum (pl)
1. Small cylinder shaped beads made from shells; especially, white ones; often woven together or strung together, and used as currency, jewelry, ornaments, or for ceremonial purposes between North American Indian tribes: "Jake and Rebecca were very happy when they finally found a belt with strings of wampum on it which was just what they were looking for while they were spending their summer vacation in the northern parts of the United States."
2. Etymology: first used in 1636 and is a short form of wampumpeag; from Algonquian; literally, "white strings"; from wap, "white" + umpe, "string".
wigwam (s) (noun), wigwams (pl)
1. A tall tent built by eastern North American Indians made of poles formed like a dome and covered by hides of large animals, mats made of woven rush, or sheets of tree bark: "In comparison to a teepee with its pointed top, a wigwam had a rounded or curved roof."

"Each tribe had its own special designs for constructing their wigwams."

2. Etymology: from Algonquian (Eastern Abenaki) meaning "a dwelling" or "their abode"; literally, "their house".

See other English words from foreign languages at this
Other Languages Index.