Caucasian

adjective
Cau·​ca·​sian | \ kȯ-ˈkā-zhən How to pronounce Caucasian (audio) , kä- also -ˈka-zhən \

Definition of Caucasian

1 : of or relating to the Caucasus or its inhabitants were forced to leave their Caucasian homeland
2 : of or relating to a group of people having European ancestry, classified according to physical traits (such as light skin pigmentation), and formerly considered to constitute a race (see race entry 1 sense 1a) of humans

Note: People of North African and southwest Asian ancestry were historically also sometimes considered to be of the Caucasian race.

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Other Words from Caucasian

Caucasian noun
Caucasoid \ ˈkȯ-​kə-​ˌsȯid How to pronounce Caucasian (audio) , -​ˌzȯid \ adjective or noun

Caucasian vs. White

Caucasian has two fairly distinct meanings, and the difference between them occasionally leads people to aver that one of them is incorrect. The earliest sense of the word is a literal one: “of or relating to the Caucasus (a region in southeastern Europe between the Black and Caspian seas) or its inhabitants.” The second refers to the racial group commonly referred to as white.

The objection to using Caucasian to refer to a white person is that many whites do not actually come from the Caucasus region. Be this as it may, there is no rule in language stipulating that the formation of a word must be based on logic; were this the case we would not call members of this racial group either Caucasian or white, since there are very few whose skin color is in fact that exact shade.

First Known Use of Caucasian

1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for Caucasian

Time Traveler

The first known use of Caucasian was in 1668

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Statistics for Caucasian

Cite this Entry

“Caucasian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Caucasian. Accessed 18 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for Caucasian

Caucasian

adjective
Cau·​ca·​sian | \ ˈkȯ-ˈkā-zhən, -ˈkazh-ən How to pronounce Caucasian (audio) \

Medical Definition of Caucasian

: of or relating to a group of people having European ancestry, classified according to physical traits (as light skin pigmentation), and formerly considered to constitute a race of humans

Other Words from Caucasian

Caucasian noun

More from Merriam-Webster on Caucasian

Nglish: Translation of Caucasian for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of Caucasian for Arabic Speakers

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