View synonyms for race



[ reys ]


  1. a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
  2. the races, a series of races, usually of horses or dogs, run at a set time over a regular course:

    They spent a day at the races.

  3. any contest or competition, especially to achieve superiority:

    the arms race;

    the presidential race.

  4. activity prompted by urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc., as when time is short or a solution is imperative:

    the race to find an effective vaccine.

  5. onward movement; an onward or regular course, as of time, one’s life, etc., especially when thought of as swift or relentless:

    Often in the race of time and the daily struggle, we forget our true purpose in life.

  6. an artificial channel leading water to or from a place where it or its energy is utilized:

    A mill race diverts the flow from the river to the millwheel.

  7. the current of water in an artificial channel.
  8. Geology.
    1. a strong or rapid current of water, as in the sea or a river.
    2. the channel or bed of such a current or of any stream.
  9. Also called raceway. Machinery. a channel, groove, or the like, for sliding or rolling a part or parts, as the balls of a ball bearing.
  10. Textiles.
    1. the float between adjacent rows of pile.

verb (used without object)

, raced, rac·ing.
  1. to engage in a contest of speed; run a race:

    He has raced several times in the Indy 500, but never won.

  2. to run horses or dogs in races; engage in or practice horce racing or dog racing:

    Queen Elizabeth bred horses and regularly raced at Ascot.

  3. to run, move, or go swiftly:

    We all screamed as the rollercoaster raced down the steep track.

  4. (of an engine, wheel, etc.) to run with undue or uncontrolled speed when the load is diminished without a corresponding reduction of fuel, force, etc.:

    I’m taking the car to the mechanic—the engine keeps racing.

verb (used with object)

, raced, rac·ing.
  1. to run a race against; try to beat in a contest of speed:

    I'll race you to the water.

  2. to enter (a horse, car, track team, or the like) in a race or races:

    In 1988, Jamaica raced its first bobsled team in the Winter Olympics.

  3. to cause to run, move, or go at high speed:

    Don’t race the engine when shifting gears.



[ reys ]


  1. a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.

    Synonyms: breed, line, stock, family, clan, tribe

  2. a population so related.
  3. Anthropology.
    1. (no longer in technical use) any of the traditional divisions of humankind, the commonest being the Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negro, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal physical characteristics.
    2. an arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes, especially formerly, based on any or a combination of various physical characteristics, as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, and now frequently based on such genetic markers as blood groups.
    3. a socially constructed category of identification based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliation, or shared culture:

      Her parents wanted her to marry within her race.

    4. a human population partially isolated reproductively from other populations, whose members share a greater degree of physical and genetic similarity with one another than with other humans.
  4. a group of tribes or peoples forming an ethnic lineage:

    the Slavic race.

  5. any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.:

    the Dutch race.

  6. the human race or family; humankind:

    Nuclear weapons pose a threat to the race.

  7. Zoology. a variety; subspecies.
  8. a natural kind of living creature:

    the race of fishes.

  9. any group, class, or kind, especially of persons:

    Journalists are an interesting race.

  10. the characteristic taste or flavor of wine.


  1. of or relating to the races of humankind.



[ reys ]


  1. the root of the ginger plant; a gingerroot.



[ reys ]


  1. Cape, a cape at the SE extremity of Newfoundland.



/ reɪs /


  1. a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical characteristics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc. Principal races are Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid
  2. the human race
    human beings collectively
  3. a group of animals or plants having common characteristics that distinguish them from other members of the same species, usually forming a geographically isolated group; subspecies
  4. a group of people sharing the same interests, characteristics, etc

    the race of authors

  5. play the race card informal.
    to introduce the subject of race into a public discussion, esp to gain a strategic advantage



/ reɪs /


  1. Cape Race
    a cape at the SE extremity of Newfoundland, Canada



/ reɪs /


  1. a ginger root



/ reɪs /


  1. a contest of speed, as in running, swimming, driving, riding, etc
  2. any competition or rivalry

    the race for the White House

  3. rapid or constant onward movement

    the race of time

  4. a rapid current of water, esp one through a narrow channel that has a tidal range greater at one end than the other
  5. a channel of a stream, esp one for conducting water to or from a water wheel or other device for utilizing its energy

    a mill race

    1. a channel or groove that contains ball bearings or roller bearings or that restrains a sliding component
    2. the inner or outer cylindrical ring in a ball bearing or roller bearing
  6. a narrow passage or enclosure in a sheep yard through which sheep pass individually, as to a sheep dip
  7. a wire tunnel through which footballers pass from the changing room onto a football field
  8. a line of containers coupled together, used in mining to transport coal
  9. another name for slipstream
  10. archaic.
    the span or course of life
  11. not in the race informal.
    given or having no chance


  1. to engage in a contest of speed with (another)
  2. to engage (oneself or one's representative) in a race, esp as a profession or pastime

    to race pigeons

  3. to move or go as fast as possible
  4. to run (an engine, shaft, propeller, etc) or (of an engine, shaft, propeller, etc) to run at high speed, esp after reduction of the load or resistance


/ rās /

    1. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
    2. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
  1. Any of several extensive human populations associated with broadly defined regions of the world and distinguished from one another on the basis of inheritable physical characteristics, traditionally conceived as including such traits as pigmentation, hair texture, and facial features. Because the number of genes responsible for such physical variations is tiny in comparison to the size of the human genome and because genetic variation among members of a traditionally recognized racial group is generally as great as between two such groups, most scientists now consider race to be primarily a social rather than a scientific concept.

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Usage Alert

Genetic evidence has undermined the idea of racial divisions of the human species and rendered race obsolete as a biological system of classification. Race therefore should no longer be considered as an objective category, as the term formerly was in expressions like the Caucasian race, the Asian race, the Hispanic race. Instead, if the reference is to a particular inherited physical trait, as skin color or eye shape, that salient feature should be mentioned specifically: discrimination based on color. Rather than using race to generalize about national or geographic origin, or even religious affiliation, it is better to be specific: South Korean, of Polish descent. References to cultural affiliation may refer to ethnicity or ethnic group: Kurdish ethnicity, Hispanic ethnicity. Though race is no longer considered a viable scientific categorization of humans, it continues to be used by the U.S. Census to refer to current prevalent categories of self-identification that include some physical traits, some historical affiliations, and some national origins: Black, white, American Indian, Chinese, Samoan, etc. The current version of the census also asks whether or not Americans are of Hispanic origin, which is not considered a race. There are times when it is still accurate to talk about race in society. Though race has lost its biological basis, the sociological consequences of historical racial categories persist. For example, it may be appropriate to invoke race to discuss social or historical events shaped by racial categorizations, as slavery, segregation, integration, discrimination, equal employment policy. Often in these cases, the adjective “racial” is more appropriate than the noun “race.” While the scientific foundation for race is now disputed, racial factors in sociological and historical contexts continue to be relevant.

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Other Words From

  • an·ti·rac·ing adjective
  • pre·rac·ing adjective
  • pro·rac·ing adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of race1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English noun ras(e) “(forward) course, current; onslaught, charge,” from Old Norse rās “a running, race” (cognate with Old English rǣs “a running, race, rush”); verb derivative of the noun

Origin of race2

First recorded in 1490–1500; from Middle French race “group of people of common descent,” from Italian razza “kind, species”; further origin uncertain

Origin of race3

First recorded in 1540–50; from Middle French rais, raiz from Latin rādīc- (stem of rādīx ) “root, lower part”; root 1

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Word History and Origins

Origin of race1

C16: from French, from Italian razza , of uncertain origin

Origin of race2

C15: from Old French rais , from Latin rādīx a root

Origin of race3

C13: from Old Norse rās running; related to Old English rǣs attack

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. off to the races, starting a period of vigorous and usually promising activity toward some goal:

    With unemployment easing and the GDP expanding, I think the economy is finally off to the races.

    I gave her a few tips for her speech, and she was off to the races writing it.

More idioms and phrases containing race

see rat race ; slow but sure (steady wins the race) .

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Synonym Study

Race, people, ethnicity, ethnic group, and nation are terms for a large body of persons who may be thought of as a unit because of common characteristics. Race is no longer in technical use as a biological or anthropological system of classification (see usage note). In certain broader or less technical senses, race is sometimes used interchangeably with people. People refers to a body of persons united usually by common interests, ideals, or culture but sometimes also by a common history, or language: We are one people; the peoples of the world; the Swedish people. As with people, members of an ethnicity or ethnic group are united by a shared culture or culture of origin and sometimes shared history, language, or religion, especially in contrast to the culture of a different group: Several ethnicities were represented in the Pride parade. Hostility between ethnic groups divided the region. Nation refers to a current or historical body of persons living under an organized government or rule, occupying a defined area, and acting as a unit in matters of peace and war: the English nation; the Phoenician nation.

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Example Sentences

After all, even if democratizing access to skills is the first step in a bigger race, it’s not an easy one.

In the 2018 Senate races that led to Republican gains, most votes were cast for Democrats.

From Vox

The scientific race for a coronavirus vaccine is moving at record-shattering speed.

From Axios

Polling in each state has moved within a fairly narrow range, as has the race overall.

Warren, who was one of more than two dozen candidates to run in the Democratic primary, dropped out of the race in March.

On Thursday, Garcetti ruled himself out of the race to succeed Boxer.

Think back to the Bush-Kerry race of 2004, the Thrilla in Vanilla.

How far has Congress really evolved on race when in 50 years it has gone from one black senator to two?

If Congress accurately reflected our nation on the basis of race, about 63 percent would be white, not 80 percent.

Each individual race involves an unusual collaboration between researchers, manufacturers, and public-health entities.

His hero, Gulliver, discovers race after race of beings who typify the genera in his classification of mankind.

Ever since his majority Lord Hetton had annually entered a colt in the great race.

Decide about it, ye that are learned in the ethnographic distinctions of our race—but heaven defend us from the Bourbonnaises!

His unbounded generosity won for him the admiration of all his race, who graciously recognized him as their Maguinoó.

One of the lower and mixed forms of artistic activity, in the case of the child and of the race alike, is personal adornment.


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More About Race

What is a basic definition of race?

A race is a contest of speed. As a verb, race means to engage in a speed contest or to move very quickly. The word race is also used to mean a group of people that shares certain characteristics. Race has many other senses as a noun and a verb.

In a race, two or more people compete to see who can reach a certain location first or who can travel a certain distance faster. A race can be formal, with judges and a crowd, or casual, as with a couple of children running across a yard. A person or thing that participates in a race is a racer.

  • Real-life examples: The Daytona 500 is a famous car race. The Olympic Games hosts races on land and in water. Children often have races to see who is fastest.
  • Used in a sentence: My brother beat me in the race to the last slice of pizza. 

In this sense, race is used as a verb to mean to take part in a race. Race can also mean either to compete against someone in a speed contest or to enter something in a race.

  • Used in a sentence: When Bill was a kid, he liked to race toy cars with his cousins. 

Race can also be used more generally to mean to move very fast.

  • Used in a sentence: The puppy raced through the living room and knocked over a chair. 

Race has been used to refer to a group of people who share certain characteristics, such as skin color. However, genetic evidence has proved that such groupings are not a scientific or biological classification for categories of humans. The term is still commonly used to generally refer to groups of people that share a skin color, heritage, origin, culture, or similar characteristics. This sense of race is an arbitrary label that lumps people together and is not scientific.

  • Used in a sentence: The 2020 US Census asked questions about gender, income, and race. 

The adjective racial comes from this sense of race, as in racial minority.

Where does race come from?

The first records of the contest sense of race come from around 1250. It ultimately comes from the Old Norse rās, meaning “a running or race.” The verb sense of this race comes from the noun.

The first records of the sense of race referring to a group of people come from around 1490. It ultimately comes from the Italian razza, which means “kind or species.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to race?

  • racer (noun)
  • raceable (adjective)
  • antiracing (adjective)
  • preracing (adjective)
  • proracing (adjective)

What are some synonyms for race?

What are some words that share a root or word element with race?

What are some words that often get used in discussing race?

How is race used in real life?

Race is a commonly used word to mean a contest of speed or to move very fast. The term race is also often used unscientifically to refer to certain groups of people.

Try using race!​

Which of the following words is a synonym of race?

A. chase
B. dash
C. walk
D. rush

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.




Raccoon Riverraceable