I'm searching for words that encompass the group of people who were subjugated and/or colonised. Words like "slave" don't really fit what I'm searching for because they're not broad enough. So is "the colonised" the best way I can describe this group of people, is there a single collective term like "colonisers" but for people at the other end of the stick?

  • 1) Is there a reason you don't want to use "colonized"? 2) You'll get better answers if you tell a bit more about what meanings you want to encompass or exclude. Mar 2, 2022 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


I'm searching for words that encompass the group of people who were subjugated and/or colonised.

For those who found themselves colonised, the usual adjective is indigenous, which is not used as a noun.

Merriam Webster:

indigenous adjective

  1. b: of or relating to the earliest known inhabitants of a place and especially of a place that was colonized by a now-dominant group
    // Indigenous peoples.


indigenous, adj.

  1. a. Born or produced naturally in a land or region; native or belonging naturally to (the soil, region, etc.). (Used primarily of aboriginal inhabitants or natural products.)

2013 "Trans-Colonial Urban Space in Palestine: Politics and and Development" Maha Samman. However, settlement colonies themselves were three types that differed in use of labour forces; the first included importing workers to displace indigenous population.

  • Although the forces of colonization almost always impact indigenous peoples, this might narrow the meaning in ways that are undesired. For instance, a very broad discussion of colonization might even include modern "gentrification" of neighborhoods, in which incoming demographics displace longtime residents and aggressively redefine the culture of the area. Although the "colonized" existing demographics were in a sense "there first," "indigenous" could be a misleading or inapplicable term. Personally, I don't see what's wrong with "colonized"... Mar 2, 2022 at 14:53
  • @AndyBonner I think the only thing going against 'the colonized' is that it is not common. It doesn't -sound- like the single word that should fit for 'original inhabitants'. 'The colonized', while grammatically well formed and having all the right sememes, just sounds weird, like it's obvious what it means but do people actually use it? The very formal term that is actually used is 'autochthonous' (adj) or 'autochthon' (noun), but that has it's own problems (like hyper erudition and how do you even spell that?)
    – Mitch
    Mar 2, 2022 at 15:35
  • @AndyBonner, while I can agree in the wider sense with your idea of gentrification, I am responding to I'm searching for words that encompass the group of people who were subjugated and/or colonised.
    – Greybeard
    Mar 2, 2022 at 15:47
  • @Mitch I guess my point is that "single word that should fit for 'original inhabitants'" is an assumption, not present in the OP question. Colonization is a broader topic. Mar 2, 2022 at 16:31
  • @Mitch When it comes to sounding weird—I mean, by parallel with "colonizer" we could say "colonizee"... but I sure don't want to! Mar 2, 2022 at 16:32

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