- a contemptuous term used to refer to a North American Indian.
Origin of redskin
The date and origin of this term is in dispute. Evidence seems to show that in the 1760s, French colonists in the Mississippi Valley translated a Native American spoken term into the French language as peau rouge , which was then translated into English as redskin. Through the early part of the 19th century, American Indians continued to use their native word self-referentially, and it was translated into spoken and written English as redskin with no derogatory connotations, even as a term of respect. However, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, within the historical context of white-Indian hostilities, use of the term redskin was associated with attitudes of contempt and condescension. By the 1960s, redskin had declined in use; because of heightened cultural sensitivities, it was perceived as offensive. Yet use of the term survives in the names of some sports teams.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for redskin
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “Redskin” is labeled “usually offensive.”
Now, I should note: Redskin is not the equivalent of the N word, as some are saying.
A third man was something between the white-man and the redskin.The Hound From The North
If a redskin had found it, he'd have taken better care o' it.The Fiery Totem
The redskin who threw me in here said he would kill me if I left.Rodney, the Ranger
John V. Lane
In his guttural tongue the redskin appealed to Dan for a drink of water.For the Liberty of Texas
Moreover, the redskin made the mistake of trying to cling to his gun.Oh, You Tex!
William Macleod Raine
- an old-fashioned informal name, now considered taboo, for a Native American
C17: so called because one particular tribe, the now extinct Beothuks of Newfoundland, painted themselves with red ochre
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
Word Origin and History for redskin
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper