TRIBE, noun [Latin tribus.]
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.
2. A division, class or distinct portion of people, from whatever cause that distinction may have originated. The city of Athens was divided into ten tribes. Rome was originally divided into three tribes; afterward the people were distributed into thirty tribes, and afterwards into thirty five.
3. A number of things having certain characters or resemblances, in common; as a tribe of plants; a tribe of animals.
Linneus distributed the vegetable kingdom into three tribes, viz. monocotyledonous, dicotyledonous, and acotyledonous plants, and these he subdivided into gentes or nations.
By recent naturalists, tribe has been used for a division of animals or vegetables, intermediate between order and genus. Cuvier divides his orders into families, and his families into tribes, including under the latter one or more genera. Leach, in his arrangement of insects, makes his tribes, on the contrary, the primary subdivisions of his orders, and his families subordinate to them, and immediately including the genera.
TRIBEs of plants, in gardening, are such as are related to teach other by some natural affinity or resemblance; as by their duration, the annual, biennial, and perennial tribes; by their roots, as the bulbous, tuberous, and fibrous-rooted tribes; by the loss or retention of their leaves, as the deciduous and ever-green tribes; by their fruits and seeds, as the leguminous, bacciferous, coniferous, nuciferous and pomiferous tribes, etc.
4. A division; a number considered collectively.
5. A nation of savages; a body of rude people united under one leader or government; as the tribes of the six nations; the Seneca tribe in America.
6. A number of persons of any character or profession; in contempt; as the scribbling tribe
TRIBE, verb transitive To distribute into tribes or classes. [Not much used.]