[ non-wahyt, -hwahyt ]


  1. of or relating to a person or people who are not members of the sociocultural classification marked by slight pigmentation of the skin and associated with European descent:

    Both immigration and births contributed to nonwhite population growth in the most recent census.


  1. a person who is not a member of the sociocultural classification marked by slight pigmentation of the skin and associated with European descent; a person of color.

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Sensitive Note

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. It is generally more acceptable as an adjective (strategies to get nonwhite voters to the polls) than as a noun (a candidate favored by nonwhites; the candidate who is a nonwhite ).

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Word History and Origins

Origin of nonwhite1

First recorded in 1920–25; non- + white

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Example Sentences

Americans who are older, have less income, have less education or are nonwhite are less likely to go online, researchers found.

For another, the ban on giving out food and water would probably hit hardest in places with the longest lines to vote, which tend to be in predominantly nonwhite and lower-income communities.

Fifty-four of the 60 illustrators we hired were men—and only four were nonwhite.

From Fortune

That is a big problem when you are only winning a quarter of nonwhite votes.

As Judge Davis puts it, Schreiner knew that the Senate Act was “a legal fraud,” enacted simply to remove nonwhite voters and to reduce the NP’s electoral vulnerability.

From Ozy

Compare this country with mostly dark-skinned Brazil, which has had not a single nonwhite Miss Brazil.

Any nonwhite person in America can probably testify to this from more local experience.

Shockingly, there is one nonwhite person in the cast, Salwa, or as MTV has dubbed her, “Bengali in boots.”

Swell move by the party allegedly trying to reach out now to nonwhite voters eh?

Nonwhite registered voters are somewhat less likely than whites to have driver's licenses.

Technically the Steward's Branch was open to all, but in practice it remained strictly nonwhite.