[ es-kuh-moh ]
/ ˈɛs kəˌmoʊ /
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noun, plural Es·ki·mos, (especially collectively) Es·ki·mo for 1.
Sometimes Offensive. a member of a group of Indigenous peoples of Greenland, northern Canada, Alaska, and northeastern Siberia.
any of the languages of these peoples, divided into two branches: Inuit, spoken in Greenland, Canada, and northern Alaska, and Yupik, spoken in southern Alaska and Siberia.


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Compare Inuit, Yupik.

Origin of Eskimo

First recorded in 1575–85; from earlier Esqimawe(s), apparently via French (of 16th-century Basque fishermen), from Spanish esquimao(s), from Montagnais (French spelling) aiachkimeou- a name for the Micmac, extended or transferred to the Labrador Eskimo among the eastern Montagnais; perhaps literally, “snowshoe-netter” (compare Ojibwa aškime· “to net snowshoes”); cf. husky2

usage note for Eskimo

The name Inuit, by which the native people of the Arctic from northern Alaska to western Greenland call themselves, has largely supplanted Eskimo in Canada and is used officially by the Canadian government. Canadians, as well as many Americans (especially Indigenous Alaskans), consider Eskimo derogatory, in part because the word was, erroneously, long thought to mean literally “eater of raw meat.” Inuit , properly a more specific term referring to speakers of the Inuit language, has come to be used in a wider sense to name all people traditionally called Eskimo, regardless of local self-designations. Nonetheless, Eskimo continues in use in many parts of the world, especially in historical and archaeological contexts and in reference to these peoples as a cultural and linguistic unity. The term Native American is sometimes used to include these peoples, as well as the Aleuts. See also Indian.


Es·ki·mo·an, adjectiveEs·ki·moid [es-kuh-moid], /ˈɛs kəˌmɔɪd/, adjectivepro-Es·ki·mo, adjective, noun, plural pro-Es·ki·mos, pro-Es·ki·mo.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use Eskimo in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Eskimo

/ (ˈɛskɪˌməʊ) /

plural -mos or -mo a member of a group of peoples inhabiting N Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and E Siberia, having a material culture adapted to an extremely cold climate
the language of these peoples
a family of languages that includes Eskimo and Aleut
relating to, denoting, or characteristic of the Eskimos
Former spelling: Esquimau
See also Inuit, Inuktitut

Word Origin for Eskimo

C18 from Algonquian Esquimawes

usage for Eskimo

Eskimo is considered by many to be offensive, and in North America the term Inuit is usually preferred. Inuit, however, can be accurately applied only to those Aboriginal peoples inhabiting parts of Northern Canada, Alaska, and Greenland (as distinguished from those in Asia or the Aleutian Islands)
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