Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A Native American dwelling commonly having an arched or conical framework overlaid with bark, hides, or mats.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dwelling having an arched framework overlaid with bark, hides, or mats, used by Native Americans in the northeastern United States.
  • n. Any more or less similar dwelling used by indigenous people in other parts of the world.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An Indian cabin or hut, usually of a conical form, and made of a framework of poles covered with hides, bark, or mats; -- called also tepee.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • The tent or lodge of a North American Indian, generally of a conical shape and formed of bark or mats, or now most often of skins, laid over poles (called lodge-poles) stacked on the ground and converging at the top, where is left an opening for the escape of smoke.
  • A large building; especially, a large structure in which a nominating convention or other political gathering is held.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a Native American lodge frequently having an oval shape and covered with bark or hides

Etymologies

Eastern Abenaki wìkəwαm.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Western Abenaki wigwôm or Eastern Abenaki (Penobscot) wigwom (both meaning "house"), from Proto-Algonquian. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • She said it with a strange little smile, for now she recognised that the word wigwam was not to be used in her new life.

    The Translation of a Savage, Volume 1

  • "He doesn't know much about it, if he calls a wigwam a wampum," interposed Miss Smith, with still greater pertness.

    A Fair Barbarian

  • Look up and around as you enter its celebrated conical concrete "wigwam" - designed and built within five years from 1962 - and you get drawn into one of 20th-century Britain's grandest colour experiences.

    The Guardian World News

  • The wigwam was a bit bigger than I had imagined and looked comfortable enough, especially since we would have to get up at 4am.

    Devil o’ the Highlands Footrace 2009 #1

  • A wigwam was a round shaped structure made out of bent tree branches that were covered with layers of bark and dried grass.

    History of American Women

  • The leavings of her lord's feast sufficed for her, and the coldest place in the wigwam was her seat.

    A Brief History of the United States

  • A temporary wooden structure, called a wigwam, had been built for the purpose.

    The Life of Abraham Lincoln

  • But before Pontiac was many years old he knew that the wigwam was the place for women and children, and that it was a shame for a man not to follow the deer through the forest, and go upon the warpath.

    Four American Indians King Philip, Pontiac, Tecumseh, Osceola

  • Even the very threshold or crevice of your wigwam will be a witness against you, if you should commit any criminal action when no human eye could observe your criminal doings, but surely your criminal actions will be revealed in some future time to your disgrace and shame.

    History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan

  • She could scarcely see, and did not recognise that near the wigwam was a pile of hop poles laid on top of each other horizontally.

    The Shuttle

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Comments

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  • A wigwam or wickiup is a domed single-room dwelling used by certain Native American tribes. The term wickiup is generally used to label these kinds of dwellings in American Southwest and West. Wigwam is usually applied to these structures in the American Northeast. The use of these terms by non-Native Americans is somewhat arbitrary and can refer to many distinct types of Native American structures regardless of location or cultural group including the tipi.
    _Wikipedia

    I know some Native Americans who scoff at the generic use of this word.

    February 4, 2008