[ non-hwahyt, -wahyt ]
/ nɒnˈʰwaɪt, -ˈwaɪt /


a sociocultural classification of modern humans with darker pigmentation of the skin than is characteristic in people of European descent.
a person who is not a member of the group in a society with lighter colored skin; a person of color.


not belonging to the societal group marked by slight pigmentation of the skin and European descent: the nonwhite peoples of Africa and Asia; Both immigration and births contributed to nonwhite population growth in the most recent census.
of or relating to nonwhite persons or peoples.

Origin of nonwhite

First recorded in 1920–25; non- + white

usage note for nonwhite

Use of the word nonwhite to describe a population group has sometimes been criticized for implying in its very structure that “white” is the norm and anything else is a deviation from that norm. A more affirmative descriptive term, like person(s) of color , is often appropriate, as are other specific ethnic, cultural, or national designations. However, nonwhite is still in common use, especially in contexts where the focus is on statistical analyses of populations of European ancestry as distinguished from other populations. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

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