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[kree-ohl] /ˈkri oʊl/
a person born in the West Indies or Spanish America but of European, usually Spanish, ancestry.
a person born in Louisiana but of usually French ancestry.
(sometimes lowercase) a person of mixed black and European, especially French or Spanish, ancestry who speaks a creolized form of French or Spanish.
(usually lowercase) a creolized language; a pidgin that has become the native language of a speech community.
Compare pidgin.
the creolized French language of the descendants of the original settlers of Louisiana.
Compare Cajun.
(usually lowercase) Archaic. a black person born in the New World, as distinguished from one brought there from Africa.
(sometimes lowercase) of, relating to, or characteristic of a Creole or Creoles.
(usually lowercase) Cookery. indicating a spicy sauce or dish made especially with tomatoes, peppers, onions, celery, and seasonings, and often served with rice.
(sometimes lowercase) bred or growing in a country, but of foreign origin, as an animal or plant.
Origin of Creole
1595-1605; < French < Spanish criollo < Portuguese crioulo native, derivative of criar to bring up < Latin creāre; see create
Related forms
half-Creole, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Creole
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mlle. Soubise was then very young, and in appearance like a Creole.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • The Creole, it is true, tried and failed to take the helm of conversation.

    Dr. Sevier George W. Cable
  • I was myself the first at liberty, and sprang towards the 'Creole.'

  • From the author of "Creole and Puritan" and other stories; and is very bright and readable.

  • Cassy was dressed after the manner of the Creole Spanish ladies,—wholly in black.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe
British Dictionary definitions for Creole


a language that has its origin in extended contact between two language communities, one of which is generally European. It incorporates features from each and constitutes the mother tongue of a community Compare pidgin
denoting, relating to, or characteristic of creole
(of a sauce or dish) containing or cooked with tomatoes, green peppers, onions, etc
Word Origin
C17: via French and Spanish probably from Portuguese crioulo slave born in one's household, person of European ancestry born in the colonies, probably from criar to bring up, from Latin creāre to create


(sometimes not capital) (in the Caribbean and Latin America)
  1. a native-born person of European, esp Spanish, ancestry
  2. a native-born person of mixed European and African ancestry who speaks a French or Spanish creole
  3. a native-born Black person as distinguished from one brought from Africa
(in Louisiana and other Gulf States of the US) a native-born person of French ancestry
the creolized French spoken in Louisiana, esp in New Orleans
of, relating to, or characteristic of any of these peoples
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Creole



c.1600, from French créole (17c.), from Spanish criollo "person native to a locality," from Portuguese crioulo, diminutive of cria "person (especially a servant) raised in one's house," from criar "to raise or bring up," from Latin creare "to produce, create" (see create).

The exact sense varies with local use. Originally with no connotation of color or race; Fowler (1926) writes: "Creole does not imply mixture of race, but denotes a person either of European or (now rarely) of negro descent born and naturalized in certain West Indian and American countries." In U.S. use, applied to descendants of French and Spanish settlers in Louisiana from at least 1792. Of languages, from 1879. As an adjective, from 1748.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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