[ eth-nik ]
/ ˈɛθ nɪk /



a member of an ethnic group.

Origin of ethnic

1325–75; Middle English ethnik heathen < Late Latin ethnicus < Greek ethnikós. See ethno-, -ic

Related forms

eth·ni·cal·ly, adverbin·ter·eth·nic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ethnic

British Dictionary definitions for ethnic



/ (ˈɛθnɪk) /


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

Derived Forms

ethnically, adverbethnicity (ɛθˈnɪsɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for ethnic

C14 (in the senses: heathen, Gentile): from Late Latin ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos, from ethnos race


Referring to a person as an ethnic is broadly acceptable in the US, Australia and Canada, but could well cause offence in the UK and elsewhere
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