[ kaw-key-zhuhn, -shuhn, -kazh-uhn, -kash- ]

adjectiveAlso Cau·cas·ic [kaw-kas-ik, -kaz-]. /kɔˈkæs ɪk, -ˈkæz-/.
  1. Anthropology. (no longer in technical use) of, relating to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India.

  2. white (def. 3): a brown-haired Caucasian female with a tattoo on her left shoulder.

  1. of or relating to the Caucasus mountain range.

  2. Linguistics. of or related to the non-Indo-European, non-Turkic languages of the Caucasus region.

  1. Anthropology. (no longer in technical use) a member of the peoples traditionally classified as the Caucasian race, especially those peoples having light to fair skin.

  2. a white person: The chef at this awesome new Indian restaurant is actually a blonde-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian from Montana.

  1. a native of Caucasia.

Origin of Caucasian

First recorded in 1800–10; from Latin Caucas(eus), Caucas(ius), derivative of Caucasus, from Greek Kaúkasos; + -ian adjective suffix; see Caucasus, -ian

word story For Caucasian

Coined by German anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach at the turn of the 19th century, the racial classification Caucasian has sparked plenty of debate in its short time in the English language. First there’s the issue of Blumenbach’s mistaken etymology: he erroneously placed the origins of the “White” race in the Caucasus mountain region. He also, not at all humbly, knocked his predecessor, Carl Linnaeus, for his singular method of studying teeth to determine race, calling it “artificial” and asserting that it “came every day to be encumbered with more troublesome anomalies.” Blumenbach, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of studying the entire skull to understand the quandary that is race.
When anthropologists first started studying race, white supremacy was popularly accepted. Blumenbach was, at least, a bit more progressive than his contemporaries, in that he believed that all human beings belonged to the same species, even if he considered the Caucasian race—his own race—to be the original type and the “most handsome and becoming” of all five races ( Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, Malayan, and American ) in his now outdated classification.
The language of race is undeniably a sensitive issue. Words that were once perfectly acceptable become dated and offensive. In his book The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race, Bruce David Baum notes: “[T]he notion of a Caucasian race has gone in and out of vogue…in popular usage since it was invented in the late eighteenth century.” In a 2008 speech Hillary Clinton used the term “Caucasian”; however, the writers of the 2010 U.S. Census form opted to use the term “White” over “Caucasian” in the question about race. For most Americans, the terms are interchangeable.

Other words from Caucasian

  • non-Cau·ca·sian, adjective, noun

Words Nearby Caucasian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Caucasian in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Caucasian


Caucasic (kɔːˈkeɪzɪk)

/ (kɔːˈkeɪzɪən, -ʒən) /

  1. old-fashioned another word for Caucasoid

  2. of or relating to the Caucasus

  1. a White person; a Caucasoid

  2. a native or inhabitant of Caucasia

  1. any of three possibly related families of languages spoken in the Caucasus: North-West Caucasian, including Circassian and Abkhaz, North-East Caucasian, including Avar, and South Caucasian including Georgian

usage For Caucasian

The word Caucasian is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

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