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

Les Bleus, 1998 champions, have cashed in their country’s cultural and ethnic diversity to build one of the most talented sides in the world. Christopher L. Gasper, BostonGlobe.com, "The Lions in the Super Bowl, a .400 hitter in a season, and other sports dreams I’d like to see become reality," 14 July 2018 South Sudan has descended into a worsening cycle of violence since the civil war erupted in 2013 between its Dinka ethnic majority, led by President Salva Kiir, and the Nuer minority aligned with his former vice president, Riek Machar. New York Times, "U.N. Imposes Arms Embargo on South Sudan as Atrocities Go Unabated," 13 July 2018 At least 440,000 stateless people live in Thailand, many of whom are victims of Myanmar’s long years of ethnic strife, according to the U.N. refugee agency. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 Though still a member of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ethnic coalition which has ruled the country uninterrupted since 1991, Mr Abiy is from its Oromo faction. The Economist, "Ethiopia and Eritrea put an end to two decades of conflict," 10 July 2018 Trump has used tough rhetoric on immigration to motivate his political base at home, at times using racial or ethnic undertones. Washington Post, "Trump stands by ‘culture’ criticism of European immigration," 13 July 2018 Trump has used tough rhetoric on immigration to motivate his political base at home, at times using racial or ethnic undertones. Fox News, "Trump stands by 'culture' criticism of European immigration," 13 July 2018 That’s because people who have less education are at greater risk of dying of cancer — an association that holds up from coast to coast and among people of all racial and ethnic groups. Karen Kaplan, latimes.com, "A plan to prevent more than 1 in 5 cancer deaths, without having to invent any new treatments," 10 July 2018 Around the world and particularly in the United States, Twitter is used every day to infuse misogyny, racial and ethnic animus and conspiratorial thinking into mainstream news coverage. Farhad Manjoo, New York Times, "Employee Uprisings Sweep Many Tech Companies. Not Twitter.," 4 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The Fula people are a Muslim ethnic group thought to have roots in the Middle East and North Africa, who are now widely dispersed across West Africa. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Rachel Dolezal, who famously claimed to be a black woman, takes African name," 2 Mar. 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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Learn More about ethnic

Phrases Related to ethnic

ethnic minorities

Statistics for ethnic

Last Updated

12 Sep 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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