white man's burden


Definition of white man's burden

: the alleged duty of the white peoples to manage the affairs of the less developed nonwhite peoples

First Known Use of white man's burden

1865, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for white man's burden

"The White Man's Burden" (1899), poem by Rudyard Kipling

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about white man's burden

Time Traveler for white man's burden

Time Traveler

The first known use of white man's burden was in 1865

See more words from the same year

Statistics for white man's burden

Cite this Entry

“White man's burden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/white%20man%27s%20burden. Accessed 30 May. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on white man's burden

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with white man's burden

Comments on white man's burden

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!