eth·​no·​cen·​tric | \ ˌeth-nō-ˈsen-trik How to pronounce ethnocentric (audio) \

Definition of ethnocentric

: characterized by or based on the attitude that one's own group is superior

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Other Words from ethnocentric

ethnocentricity \ ˌeth-​nō-​sen-​ˈtri-​sə-​tē How to pronounce ethnocentricity (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

The Greek word ethnos means "nation" or "people". So ethnocentricity shows itself in a lack of respect for other ways of life, and an ethnocentric person feels that his or her own nation or group is the cultural center of the world. Ethnocentric describes the kind of person who behaves badly when traveling in foreign countries, often called an "Ugly American" (from a book and movie of the same name). Whenever you hear someone making fun of the way a foreigner speaks English, just remember that it's the foreigner, not the person laughing at him, who actually can speak a foreign language.

Examples of ethnocentric in a Sentence

The review was criticized for its ethnocentric bias.
Recent Examples on the Web Launched in late 2013, the Vox party campaigns from an ethnocentric platform and has proposed building a wall to keep out Moroccans. Diana Spechler, Washington Post, "For 115 years, one restaurant has fed the elite in Berlin and now Madrid. Nazis included.," 17 Dec. 2019 Both were ineffectual, weighed down by ethnocentric divisions between the Akan and the Ga, and dominated by lawyers and wealthy merchants. Akwasi Kwarteng Amoako-gyampah, Quartz Africa, "The “tragic error” that led to Kwame Nkrumah becoming one of Africa’s great independence leaders," 7 Aug. 2019 That sort of ethnocentric cry, designed to stifle dissent and rally a political base, has helped fuel totalitarianism around the world. Mercury News & East Bay Times Editorial Boards, The Mercury News, "Editorial: Trump’s racist tweets designed to divide the nation," 18 July 2019 The people of Refugio have a strong, ethnocentric identity and a grit and determination born of being raised in harder times than these. Carmen K. Sisson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Grit and the gridiron rescue a town," 18 Oct. 2017 His Ba'ath Party is fiercely nationalist and ethnocentric, focused on the promotion of Arab identity. Liz Sly, Washington Post, "Syria’s Assad has become an icon of the far right in America," 13 Aug. 2017 The ethnocentric responses reflected by the poll are not unusual. David Filipov, Washington Post, "For Russians, Stalin is the ‘most outstanding’ figure in world history, followed by Putin," 26 June 2017 Didn’t the insanely popular racial and gender diversity of America’s Next Top Model give birth to the ethnocentric buffoonery and latent bigotry of Jersey Shore and Duck Dynasty? Jason Johnson, The Root, "Yes, Trump Voters Will Stick With Him Forever," 24 May 2017 Many of his critics have identified it as a desire to upend the international order that was established after the Second World War, and to replace it with a protectionist, ethnocentric model— John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Steve Bannon Is Losing to the Globalists," 6 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethnocentric.' 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 ethnocentric

1891, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for ethnocentric

Time Traveler

The first known use of ethnocentric was in 1891

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Statistics for ethnocentric

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ethnocentric.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for ethnocentric


How to pronounce ethnocentric (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ethnocentric

disapproving : having or based on the idea that your own group or culture is better or more important than others

More from Merriam-Webster on ethnocentric

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ethnocentric

Britannica English: Translation of ethnocentric for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ethnocentric

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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