[ nee-groh ]
/ ˈni groʊ /
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noun, plural Ne·groes.
Anthropology. (no longer in technical use) a member of the peoples traditionally classified as the Negro race, especially those who originate in sub-Saharan Africa.
Older Use: Often Offensive. a Black person.
Anthropology. (no longer in technical use) of, relating to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, generally marked by brown to black skin pigmentation, dark eyes, and tightly curled hair and including especially the Indigenous peoples of Africa south of the Sahara.
Older Use. of or relating to Black people, often African Americans: a Negro spiritual; the Negro leagues in baseball.
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Origin of Negro

First recorded in 1545–55; from Spanish and Portuguese negro “black,” from Latin nigrum, masculine accusative of niger “black”

usage note for Negro

See Black1.

historical usage of Negro

When Negro first appears in print in English in the mid-16th century, the word was nearly always capitalized. The spelling “negro” (uncapitalized) first appears toward the end of the 18th century, and the uncapitalized form remained standard until the 20th century. Three very important recommendations for the capitalized form come from: 1) W.E.B. Du Bois, “I shall throughout this study use the term ‘Negro’, to designate all persons of Negro descent, although the appellation is to some extent illogical. I shall, moreover, capitalize the word, because I believe that eight million Americans are entitled to a capital letter.” ( The Philadelphia Negro. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1899, Chapter I). 2) Harper's Weekly (2 June 1906), “Professor Booker T. Washington, being politely interrogated...as to whether negroes ought to be called ‘negroes’ or ‘members of the colored race’ has replied that it has long been his own practice to write and speak of members of his race as negroes, and when using the term ‘negro’ as a race designation, to employ the capital ‘N’.” 3) The New York Times (7 March 1930), “‘Negro’ is now added to the list of words to be capitalized. It is not merely a typographical change; it is an act in recognition of racial self-respect.”

Other definitions for Negro (2 of 2)

[ ney-groh; Spanish ne-graw; Portuguese ne-groo ]
/ ˈneɪ groʊ; Spanish ˈnɛ grɔ; Portuguese ˈnɛ grʊ /

a river in NW South America, flowing SE from E Colombia through N Brazil into the Amazon. 1,400 miles (2,255 km) long.
a river in S Argentina, flowing E from the Andes to the Atlantic. 700 miles (1,125 km) long.
a river in SE South America, flowing S from Brazil and W through Uruguay, to the Uruguay River. About 500 miles (800 km) long.
Also called Negro River . Portuguese Ri·o Ne·gro [ree-oo-ne-groo] /ˈri ʊ ˈnɛ grʊ/ . Spanish Rí·o Ne·gro [ree-oh ney-groh; Spanish ree-aw ne-graw] /ˈri oʊ ˈneɪ groʊ; Spanish ˈri ɔ ˈnɛ grɔ/ .
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use Negro in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Negro (1 of 2)

/ (ˈniːɡrəʊ) old-fashioned, offensive /

noun plural -groes
a member of any of the dark-skinned indigenous peoples of Africa and their descendants elsewhere
relating to or characteristic of Negroes

Derived forms of Negro

Negroism, noun

Word Origin for Negro

C16: from Spanish or Portuguese: black, from Latin niger black

British Dictionary definitions for Negro (2 of 2)

/ (ˈneɪɡrəʊ, ˈnɛɡ-) /

noun Río Negro
a river in NW South America, rising in E Colombia (as the Guainía) and flowing east, then south as part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela, entering Brazil and continuing southeast to join the Amazon at Manáus. Length: about 2250 km (1400 miles)
a river in S central Argentina, formed by the confluence of the Neuquén and Limay Rivers and flowing east and southeast to the Atlantic. Length: about 1014 km (630 miles)
a river in central Uruguay, rising in S Brazil and flowing southwest into the Uruguay River. Length: about 467 km (290 miles)
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