Uncle Tom

1 of 2

noun

Un·​cle Tom ˌəŋ-kəl-ˈtäm How to pronounce Uncle Tom (audio)
1
disparaging : a Black person who is overeager to win the approval of whites (as by obsequious behavior or uncritical acceptance of white values and goals)
2
disparaging : a person who is overly subservient to or cooperative with authority
the worst floor managers and supervisors by far are women … Some of them are regular Uncle TomsJane Fonda
Uncle Tomism noun

Uncle Tom

2 of 2

verb

Uncle Tommed; Uncle Tomming

intransitive verb

disparaging
: to behave like an Uncle Tom

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Uncle Tom, pious and faithful Black slave in Uncle Tom's Cabin (1851–52) by Harriet Beecher Stowe

First Known Use

Noun

1852, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1933, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Uncle Tom was in 1852

Dictionary Entries Near Uncle Tom

Cite this Entry

“Uncle Tom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Uncle%20Tom. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

Uncle Tom

noun
-ˈtäm
: a black person eager to win the approval of white people and willing to cooperate with them
Etymology

Noun

from Uncle Tom, name of a slave in the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

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