To distribute into tribes or classes. "Our fowl, fish, and quadruped are well tribed." (Abp. Nicolson)

1. A family, race, or series of generations, descending from the same progenitor, and kept distinct, as in the case of the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from the twelve sons of Jacob. "The Lion of the tribe of Juda." "A wealthy Hebrew of my tribe." (Shak)

2. <botany> A number of species or genera having certain structural characteristics in common; as, a tribe of plants; a tribe of animals.

By many recent naturalists, tribe has been used for a group of animals or plants intermediate between order and genus.

3. A nation of savages or uncivilized people; a body of rude people united under one leader or government; as, the tribes of the Six Nations; the Seneca tribe.

4. A division, class, or distinct portion of a people, from whatever cause that distinction may have originated; as, the city of Athens was divided into ten tribes.

5. A family of animals descended from some particular female progenitor, through the female line; as, the Duchess tribe of shorthorns.

Origin: L. Tribus, originally, a third part of the Roman people, afterwards, a division of the people, a tribe; of uncertain origin: cf. F. Tribu.

(01 Mar 1998)