eth·nic·i·ty | \eth-ˈni-sə-tē \
plural ethnicities

Definition of ethnicity 

1 : ethnic quality or affiliation aspects of ethnicity

2 : a particular ethnic affiliation or group students of diverse ethnicities

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for ethnicity


nation, nationality, race

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of ethnicity in a Sentence

a university that aggressively recruits a student body of diverse ethnicities

Recent Examples on the Web

In order to deliver healthcare recommendations tailored to individuals, researchers need to better understand the biology of your ancestry and ethnicity. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Smithsonian, "The DNA Data We Have Is Too White. Scientists Want to Fix That," 30 Apr. 2018 Your advertising messages should include a variety of ages, sizes, abilities, and ethnicities. Louise Green, SELF, "7 Ways Trainers Can Motivate Plus-Size Clients Without Shaming Them," 5 Apr. 2018 Surrounding her was a group of people of different ethnicities and faiths holding signs speaking out against hostility toward immigrants and separating parents from their children. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "With pleas from the public to show compassion, Jim Sensenbrenner calls immigration system a 'mess' during Brookfield town hall," 6 July 2018 The device can get a read on my emotions, discern my gender, my ethnicity, and my class, based on bedroom size or the amount of natural light in the photo, Cheney-Lippold tells me. Janelle Nanos,, "Amazon dressed me for a week. Here’s what I learned.," 2 July 2018 The men asked the judge to prohibit ICE from using that evidence, arguing they were intimidated and coercively interrogated because of their ethnicity. Kavitha Surana,, "How immigration officers can get away with racial profiling," 8 June 2018 These numbers drop among non-practicing Christians — just 52 percent say someone’s full membership in a country should be predicated on their ethnicity, and 45 percent say Islam is incompatible with their culture. Tara Isabella Burton, Vox, "Study: Christianity in Western Europe is as much about identity as belief," 5 June 2018 The Band’s Visit is the first Broadway musical that has given me the opportunity to portray my own ethnicity. Daily Intelligencer, "How The Band’s Visit Is Bringing Cultural Authenticity to Broadway," 10 Apr. 2018 That series engaged in color-blind casting, which matches actors with roles without considering their ethnicities. Sulagna Misra, HWD, "From Superhero Shows to Soaps, South Asian Actors Are Taking Over TV," 30 Mar. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of ethnicity

1920, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ethnicity

Statistics for ethnicity

Last Updated

13 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ethnicity

The first known use of ethnicity was in 1920

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ethnicity

What made you want to look up ethnicity? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!