eth·​no·​cen·​tric ˌeth-nō-ˈsen-trik How to pronounce ethnocentric (audio)
: characterized by or based on the attitude that one's own group is superior
ethnocentricity 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 Many reactions to the situation were racist and ethnocentric. Kaylee Tornay, Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2022 Christian nationalism refers to an ideology that asserts all civic life in the U.S. should be organized according to a particularly conservative and ethnocentric expression of Christianity. Andrew Whitehead, Time, 26 Sep. 2022 Hanging over the search for a native speaker is all the ethnocentric baggage that the concept implies. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2022 Fifty years later, international businesses still behave in a very ethnocentric manner. Shaheena Janjuha-Jivraj, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 My American upbringing had steered me to a pretty ethnocentric assumption: that in a totalitarian government, defiance would exhibit itself as bluntly and topically as in the United States, just with additional concealment. Stacey Anderson, Rolling Stone, 24 June 2021 Netflix’s Lupin, a Black French series about an international cat-burglar, a non-ethnocentric character, had 75 million viewers globally in its first month of airing. Court Stroud, Forbes, 3 June 2021 Plus, if applied with suitable leverage and departmental support, this is a force strong enough to counterbalance the historical tendency toward anthropocentric and ethnocentric approaches that tend to advantage narrow learner self-interest. Amandeep Midha, Forbes, 18 May 2021 To say that feminism is like Nazism is to say feminism is murderous, is ethnocentric violence. Alexa Mikhail, USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ethnocentric.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1891, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ethnocentric was in 1891

Dictionary Entries Near ethnocentric

Cite this Entry

“Ethnocentric.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


eth·​no·​cen·​tric ˌeth-nō-ˈsen-trik How to pronounce ethnocentric (audio)
: favoring one's own ethnic group

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