ethnic

adjective
eth·​nic | \ ˈeth-nik How to pronounce ethnic (audio) \

Definition of ethnic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to large groups of people classed according to common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background ethnic minorities ethnic enclaves
b : being a member of a specified ethnic group an ethnic German
c : of, relating to, or characteristic of a minority ethnic group ethnic neighborhoods ethnic foods
2 : of or relating to the Gentiles or to nations not converted to Christianity : heathen, pagan … ancient ethnic revels of a faith long since forsaken …— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

ethnic

noun

Definition of ethnic (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US
: a member of an ethnic group especially : a member of a minority group who retains the customs, language, or social views of the group

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Synonyms & Antonyms for ethnic

Synonyms: Adjective

ethnical, racial, tribal

Antonyms: Adjective

nonracial

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Examples of ethnic in a Sentence

Adjective

The U.S. has a wide variety of ethnic groups made up of immigrants or their descendants. children who were raised in a home where there was a strong ethnic consciousness

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

People who will like this candidate: Fans of Obama’s progressive pragmatism looking for a candidate who can combine a compelling personal biography with the promise to unite the party’s multi-ethnic coalition. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "Meet all the Democratic candidates in the crowded 2020 race," 24 June 2019 Still deeply scarred by a brutal inter-ethnic war in the 1990s, Bosnia has become the chief bottleneck in the main land route for thousands of migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Washington Post, "In Bosnia, refugees stuck in a country its own people leave," 21 June 2019 Thus Catharine MacKinnon, a leading feminist theorist at the University of Michigan, has argued that members of each ethnic, gender or cultural group have their own distinct moral and intellectual norms. The Economist, "The centre cannot hold - the failure of Change UK and the atrophying of political thought," 19 June 2019 The leaders also argued that workplaces need to embrace the broad demographics of their employee bases by developing and encouraging multi-generational and multi-ethnic teams. Erika Fry, Fortune, "How to Build a Thriving Multi-Generational Workforce," 12 June 2019 This story helped launch a series about racial, ethnic, and religious groups and their changing roles in 21st-century life. Wendi C. Thomas, National Geographic, "Where the Streets Have MLK's Name," 12 June 2019 In the heart of Silicon Valley, an Indian-American teenager with severe brain injuries brought Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs together as part of a rainbow coalition of ethnic, religious, and immigrant networks, on May 29. Anahita Mukherji, Quartz India, "A hate crime against an Indian-American unites Silicon Valley’s Sunnyvale," 31 May 2019 The forces that Sontag lauded in Bosnia—the forces of democracy, secularism, religious tolerance, and multi-ethnic citizenship—are hard to find in the Syrian conflict. Susie Linfield, The New York Review of Books, "Syria’s Torture Photos: Witness to Atrocity," 9 Feb. 2019 Interview elders about the spiritual significance of the Himalaya, or document the movements of India’s ethnic groups over the past century. National Geographic, "India High School Expedition," 17 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then with Lacroix from 1987 until 2009 shows were like stage productions for me, with all inspiration coming from history and art, or folk and ethnics. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Talking With @fkachristianlacroix, aka the Real Christian Lacroix, About Instagram and the 1980s," 13 Mar. 2019 The mayor enjoyed support from the city’s working-class white ethnics—Irish, Italians, Poles and others—who had long been a pillar of the Democrats’ winning coalition but were abandoning the party in the 1960s over a raft of social issues. David Greenberg, WSJ, "A Half Century of ‘Liberal Media Bias’," 23 Aug. 2018 In the late 1960s, the mayor was wooing white ethnics. Sam Roberts, New York Times, "Mary Sansone, a Grass-Roots Political Godmother, Dies at 101," 15 May 2018 Researchers have said that facial recognition algorithms often fail to identify, or misidentify, people of certain racial or ethnics groups. Jon Schuppe /, NBC News, "Axon's police body cams could be getting an AI upgrade. Civil rights groups are worried.," 26 Apr. 2018 For instance, in 2016 ethnic Amharas based in the Wolkait district opposed a federal plan that reorganized their land and placed it within the boundaries of the Tigray Regional State. Yohannes Y. Gedamu, Washington Post, "Ethiopia just pardoned political prisoners. Could that signal a shift to real democracy?," 9 Feb. 2018 Here is our first: A guide to 32 don't-miss food events in Cleveland in 2018, pizza parties and ethnics fests, paczki parties, maple sugar weekends and the return of the Fabulous Food Show. cleveland.com, "32 don't-miss Cleveland food events: 365 things to do in 2018," 10 Jan. 2018 The German-American Bund was founded in 1936 by pro-Nazi ethnic Germans living in the United States. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Footage Recalls the Night Madison Square Garden Filled With Nazis," 13 Oct. 2017 The group officials see as among the most vulnerable to Russian influence is the more than one million ethnic Germans who immigrated from the former Soviet Union. Anton Troianovski, WSJ, "Merkel’s Electoral Rivals Target Her Russia Policy," 13 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethnic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ethnic

Adjective

1542, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1941, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ethnic

Adjective

Middle English, from Late Latin ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos national, gentile, from ethnos nation, people; akin to Greek ēthos custom — more at sib

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Statistics for ethnic

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ethnic

The first known use of ethnic was in 1542

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More Definitions for ethnic

ethnic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ethnic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of or relating to races or large groups of people who have the same customs, religion, origin, etc.
: associated with or belonging to a particular race or group of people who have a culture that is different from the main culture of a country

ethnic

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ethnic (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly US : a person who belongs to a particular ethnic group

ethnic

adjective
eth·​nic | \ ˈeth-nik How to pronounce ethnic (audio) \

Kids Definition of ethnic

: of or relating to groups of people with common characteristics and customs ethnic food

Other Words from ethnic

ethnically \ -​ni-​kə-​lē \ adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ethnic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ethnic

Spanish Central: Translation of ethnic

Nglish: Translation of ethnic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ethnic for Arabic Speakers

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