- pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group (ethnic group) sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, or the like.
- referring to the origin, classification, characteristics, etc., of such groups.
- being a member of an ethnic group, especially of a group that is a minority within a larger society: ethnic Chinese in San Francisco.
- of, relating to, or characteristic of members of such a group.
- belonging to or deriving from the cultural, religious, or linguistic traditions of a people or country: ethnic dances.
- (of a human being) displaying characteristics, as in physical appearance, language, or accent, that can cause one to be identified by others as a member of a minority ethnic group: Her new boyfriend looks ethnic to me.
- Obsolete. pagan; heathen.
- a member of an ethnic group.
Origin of ethnic
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ethnic
But a 2011 study of genetic evidence from 30 ethnic groups in India disproved this theory.The Himalayas’ Hidden Aryans
January 3, 2015
He proposed among other things that police departments must better reflect the ethnic makeup of the populace.Darren Wilson Wasn’t Indicted—the System Was
November 25, 2014
Army officials also allege that he worked for ethnic rebels as a “communications captain.”Hope and Change? Burma Kills a Journalist Before Obama Arrives
November 11, 2014
What seemed to be an old political rivalry took on ethnic overtones, with the very survival of entire communities now at stake.‘The Good Lie’ and the Hard Truths of South Sudan
October 3, 2014
Of course, not all ethnic minorities agree with the demonstrators.Hong Kong Demonstrators Reject Racism
October 2, 2014
All other declarations prior to this were but for dynasties, or were ethnic at most.'America for Americans!'
John Philip Newman
It is a genuine instance of deterioration in ethnic religion.Gloria Crucis
J. H. Beibitz
It is only the validity of the ethnic explanation which we deny.Introduction to the Science of Sociology
Robert E. Park
How shall we solve this enigma of ethnic purity, and yet impurity, of type?
The Archological Ages have not necessarily an ethnic significance.Indian Myth and Legend
Donald Alexander Mackenzie
- relating to or characteristic of a human group having racial, religious, linguistic, and certain other traits in common
- relating to the classification of mankind into groups, esp on the basis of racial characteristics
- denoting or deriving from the cultural traditions of a group of peoplethe ethnic dances of Slovakia
- characteristic of another culturethe ethnic look; ethnic food
- mainly US and Australian a member of an ethnic group, esp a minority group
Word Origin and History for ethnic
late 14c., Scottish, "heathen, pagan," and having that sense first in English; as an adj. from late 15c. from Latin ethnicus, Greek ethnikos, from ethnos "band of people living together, nation, people," properly "people of one's own kind," from PIE *swedh-no-, suffixed form of root *s(w)e- (see idiom).
In Septuagint, Greek ta ethne translates Hebrew goyim, plural of goy "nation," especially of non-Israelites, hence "Gentile nation" (see goy). Sense of "peculiar to a race or nation" is attested from 1851, a return to the word's original meaning; that of "different cultural groups" is 1935; and that of "racial, cultural or national minority group" is American English 1945; ethnic cleansing is attested from 1991.
Although the term 'ethnic cleansing' has come into English usage only recently, its verbal correlates in Czech, French, German, and Polish go back much further. [Jerry Z. Muller, "Us and Them: The Enduring Power of Ethnic Nationalism," Foreign Affairs, March/April 2008]