ra·​cial | \ ˈrā-shəl How to pronounce racial (audio) \

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 How to pronounce racially (audio) \ 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

The council’s political divisions don’t always fall along neat racial, ideological or generational lines. Fenit Nirappil, Washington Post, "Tensions reach a new high at a D.C. Council as lawmakers grapple with scandal," 13 July 2019 In the 1970s, unions emphasized social justice — racial, economic — but quickly had become more conservative, focused on professionalizing the teaching profession. Dylan Scott, Vox, "The strike that brought teachers unions back from the dead," 5 July 2019 In February, New York City passed similar protections on the right to maintain natural hairstyles that are closely associated with racial, ethnic or cultural identities. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "California becomes the first state to ban discrimination based on natural hairstyles," 3 July 2019 Fifteen years ago, Justice Antonin Scalia similarly argued all partisan—but not racial—gerrymandering claims should be declared nonjusticiable. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Big Data Supercharged Gerrymandering. It Could Help Stop It, Too," 28 June 2019 This post-racial logic has steadily cemented itself into the very culture of our universities. Katy Sian, Quartz, "“Liberal racism” continues to plague Britain’s universities," 27 June 2019 Additionally, states that accomplish high voter turnout across racial, gender and age groups, would receive additional bonus payments. Abby Vesoulis, Time, "Elizabeth Warren Wants to Replace Every Single Voting Machine to Make Elections 'As Secure As Fort Knox'," 25 June 2019 Preeclampsia/eclampsia threatens mothers from all racial, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al.com, "Black, poor and Southern: One of the deadliest demographics for pregnant women in America," 25 June 2019 Peter Sabonis, a member of the Baltimore Housing Roundtable, said the credit likely fails to address issues of racial, gender and economic equity. Juliana Kim, baltimoresun.com, "Developers and others worry expiring tax credit could slow Baltimore city housing market," 24 June 2019

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

16 Jul 2019

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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 How to pronounce racial (audio) \

Kids Definition of racial

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

Other Words from racial

racially adverb


ra·​cial | \ ˈrā-shəl How to pronounce racial (audio) \

Medical Definition of racial

: of, relating to, or based on a race

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More from Merriam-Webster on racial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with racial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for racial

Spanish Central: Translation of racial

Nglish: Translation of racial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of racial for Arabic Speakers

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).


to form ideas or theories about something

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