ethnic

adjective
eth·​nic | \ˈeth-nik \

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

The work is carried out by 30 artisans from four ethnic groups, scattered across north Vietnam (Thảo spends a third of her year in the villages). Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hanoi, Time and Again," 20 Nov. 2018 Most people in Buddhist-majority Myanmar do not accept that the Rohingya Muslims are a native ethnic group. Julhas Alam, The Seattle Times, "Bangladesh official: Rohingya repatriation ready to begin," 14 Nov. 2018 What -- and what happens to the clashes between police and, well, civil society, and some -- several ethnic groups? Alex Pappas, Fox News, "Putin denies having dirt on Trump, calls meddling charge 'utterly ridiculous' in Fox News interview," 2 Oct. 2018 The report is critical of Sri Lanka and India, which have periodically shut down or limited access to the internet in response to the outbreak of ethnic and religious conflict. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Internet freedom continues to decline around the world, a new report says," 1 Nov. 2018 Holmes said, also noting Hollywood used blackface or other types of offensive makeup to cast white actors to play ethnic minorities. Megan Friedman, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Everything You Need to Know About Megyn Kelly’s NBC Exit," 26 Oct. 2018 On the other hand, only 5.3 percent of psychologists were black/African-American, while racial/ethnic minority groups overall were 16.4 percent of the active workforce. Vanessa Willhoughby, Allure, "The Reality of Navigating the Mental Health System as a Black Woman," 13 Oct. 2018 In many ways, the clocks in Europe seem to be turning back to pre-World War II days, to a time when competing nationalist, ethnic, and religious forces held sway. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "How nationalism fuels anti-immigration front across the West," 25 June 2018 In citing security concerns to exclude refugees from certain countries, Newland said, the administration has changed the ethnic and religious makeup of the much smaller number allowed entry. Kelsey Ryan, kansascity, "U.S. policy leads to ‘astounding’ drop in number of refugees in KC, pulls family apart | The Kansas City Star," 27 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 This is a realistic assessment for many subgroups within the U.S. population—particularly those of lower economic status, minority ethnics, many women, the aged, and the unemployed—in earlier historical periods marked by high unemployment. Ray Pratt, Slate Magazine, "Paranoia Rises When We Feel Politically Powerless," 31 May 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

5 Dec 2018

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)

: a person who belongs to a particular ethnic group

ethnic

adjective
eth·​nic | \ˈeth-nik \

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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