If you have ever discussed words such as, Kayak, Igloo or Parka, you have used Inuit words without being aware!
For your interest, I have provided a brief list of commonly used Inuit words.
Parka and Clothing
Amautiq ~ Within the traditional parka of an Inuit woman is a pouch under an enlarged hood designed carry her baby. The word originates from the root 'amaq' which means 'to carry'. The amautiq was traditionally worn by every woman regardless of marital status. In wearing the amautiq, young women took on the symbol responsibility of raising the next generation. Usually sewn from caribou and seal fur.
Amariik ~ Refers to both mother and baby carried in her amautiq
Atigi ~ Inner layer of the parka
Kamiks ~ Arctic snow boots made from animal skins such as seal
Kinik ~ Front flap on a woman's parka
Nasaq ~ Hood
Parka ~ Aleutian term meaning 'fur jacket with hood'
Tunu ~ Back of the parka
Ani ~ Brother
Aniapik ~ Little Brother
Annana ~ Mother
Anaanatchia ~ Grandmother
Ataata ~ Father
Ataatatchia ~ Grandfather
Inuit ~ The people
Inuk ~ One person
Irni ~ Son
Nukariik ~ Sisters
Pani ~ Daughter
Pani-lah ~ Youngest daughter
Piaraq ~ Baby
Piqati ~ Friend
Inukshuk ~ Rocks piled in figure like shapes; used to designate various meanings, for example, good hunting areas
Paniik ~ Slippers
Qamutiik ~ Traditionally a dog sled, made from whatever materials were available, such as whale bone, driftwood, ivory or antler.
Qulliq ~ Also, called Kudlik, a stone lamp, carved from soapstone (by men) and used to heat the igloo and warm food.
Sedna ~ The Inuit Sea Goddess, half woman, half sea creature, also known as Nuliajuk
Tupiq ~ Summer tents made of seal or caribou skins
Ulu ~ Women's curved knife used to skin and scrape skins and cut meat
Umiak ~ Large, skin covered boat able to carry several people for hunting and migration
Aqiggi ~ Ptarmigan
Iqaluk ~ Fish
Iqaluit ~ Place of many fish
Tuttuk ~ Caribou
Inuktitut ~ The Inuit language consisting of six distinct regional dialects. Inuktituk was an oral language until the 1870's when clergy living among the Inuit used syllabics to create a written form.
Nunavut ~ Formally established in April 1, 1999, this area was designated as a self-governed Inuit territory.
Atii ~ Let's go!
Eehhh ~ Yes
If you want to say no, just wrinkle your nose!
Nakuqmiik ~ Thank you
Nalligivagit ~ Love you
Summa ~ Why?
Suvi ~ What's going on?
Interested in more Inuit words?
Your comments are welcome and appreciated.
North Star Inuit Gallery
Box 305, Yellowknife,
NT, X1A 2N3