ra·​cial | \ˈrā-shəl \

Definition of racial 

1 : of, relating to, or based on a race a racial minority

2 : existing or occurring between races racial equality

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Other Words from racial

racially \ ˈrā-​shə-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for racial


ethnic, ethnical, tribal



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Examples of racial in a Sentence

What is your racial identity? There was racial tension on campus.

Recent Examples on the Web

Proponents hailed the measure as a necessary step toward preventing wage theft and reducing racial bias, while opponents argued increasing labor costs would force businesses to limit hours or lay off employees. Maya Sweedler, WSJ, "Washington, D.C., Council Members Consider Repeal of Voter-Passed Minimum-Wage Increase," 12 July 2018 Both transgressions sparked national outrage, with the Starbucks holding an afternoon of racial-bias training for all employees after the arrests. Katherine Nails, Philly.com, "Consumers, coffee shops see changes after Starbucks incidents - but will they last?," 10 July 2018 More than half of the hate crimes reported in California last year involved racial bias, and about 27% involved animus toward black people, the report shows. James Queally, latimes.com, "Hate crimes rise in California for third straight year, state report says," 10 July 2018 The cafe chain held racial-bias training in May in response. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Starbucks barista is fired for mocking a patron who was stuttering," 5 July 2018 The city of Ferguson reached a consent agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice aimed at addressing racial bias in its police and courts. Jim Salter, The Seattle Times, "Court finds fault with Ferguson district’s election method," 3 July 2018 As an attorney, his work has helped move more than 125 condemned people off of death row, while calling attention to profound racial biases in the justice system. Matthew Heimer, Fortune, ""Do Some Uncomfortable and Inconvenient Things": A Civil Rights Champion's Call to Action for CEOs," 27 June 2018 Yet, all of Glow season 2 isn’t a depressing slog of harassment and racial bias. refinery29.com, "Glow Season 2 Review: There’s No Sophomore Slump Here," 21 June 2018 The black 23-year-old argued that racial bias played a role in the stop and arrest. German Lopez, Vox, "NBA player Sterling Brown sues Milwaukee police over violent arrest," 20 June 2018

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

1854, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for racial

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for racial

The first known use of racial was in 1854

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More Definitions for racial



English Language Learners Definition of racial

: relating to or based on race

: existing or happening between people of different races


ra·​cial | \ˈrā-shəl \

Kids Definition of racial

: of, relating to, or based on race a racial group

Other Words from racial

racially adverb


ra·​cial | \ˈrā-shəl \

Medical Definition of racial 

: of, relating to, or based on a race

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Comments on racial

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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