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

Women with an array of hair types, skin tones, body sizes, and racial backgrounds have always been the ones that energize me. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "20 Inspiring Beauty Instagram Accounts Led by Women of Color," 29 Apr. 2019 While Oregon’s racial resentments seethed, and while local Klaverns continued to agitate about local issues, a single campaign soon became the Klan’s Oregon priority: getting rid of Catholic schools through a constitutional amendment. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 Alexander considers the incidents examples of racial profiling. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Viral Video Shows a Black Columbia University Student Being Pinned Down by Barnard College Security," 15 Apr. 2019 Officers will also receive training, monitoring, and supervision on racial profiling. Ivan Moreno, chicagotribune.com, "Milwaukee to pay $3.4 million over police stop-and-frisk policy," 11 July 2018 Officers will also receive training, monitoring, and supervision on racial profiling. NBC News, "Milwaukee to pay $3.4 million to settle 'stop-and-frisk' lawsuit," 10 July 2018 In a historic step towards long-overdue equality, targeting people based on their hair or hairstyle—an issue that disproportionately affects black men and women—will now be considered racial discrimination in New York City. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "In a Historic Move, New York City Bans Discrimination Based on Hair," 19 Feb. 2019 In early December, however, Bloomberg Law reported that a former Ross Dress for Less manager in Houston, who is black, was suing the company for age and racial discrimination. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Bantu knots are the latest natural hairstyle at the center of a workplace dispute," 20 Dec. 2018 Uber launched an internal investigation after anonymous whistleblowers alleged that Hornsey, the company's chief people officer, had systematically dismissed allegations of racial discrimination, Reuters first reported, which led to her resignation. Hamza Shaban And Jena Mcgregor, latimes.com, "Uber's HR chief resigns, reportedly after discrimination investigation," 11 July 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

7 May 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).


something valued as if it were money

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