See more synonyms for race on Thesaurus.com
  1. a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
  2. 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. 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.
  6. the course of time.
  7. the course of life or a part of life.
  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. an artificial channel leading water to or from a place where its energy is utilized.
  10. the current of water in such a channel.
  11. 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.
  12. Textiles.
    1. the float between adjacent rows of pile.
    2. race plate.
verb (used without object), raced, rac·ing.
  1. to engage in a contest of speed; run a race.
  2. to run horses or dogs in races; engage in or practice horse racing or dog racing.
  3. to run, move, or go swiftly.
  4. (of an engine, wheel, etc.) to run with undue or uncontrolled speed when the load is diminished without corresponding diminution of fuel, force, etc.
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.
  3. to cause to run, move, or go at high speed: to race a motor.

Origin of race

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English ras(e) < Old Norse rās a running, race (cognate with Old English rǣs a running); (v.) Middle English rasen, derivative of the noun (compare Old Norse rasa to rush headlong)
Related formsan·ti·rac·ing, adjectivepre·rac·ing, adjectivepro·rac·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for raced

Contemporary Examples of raced

Historical Examples of raced

  • Then he raced around the corner of the restaurant and made for the grove.

  • He believed in it, but not being rich, raced as a profession, honestly and squarely.


    W. A. Fraser

  • Lauzanne was in an inquisitive mood, as the other two raced on in front.


    W. A. Fraser

  • She took one look, caught up the suitcase and raced down the stairs.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • She shivered as they raced along under the bare branches of the locusts.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

British Dictionary definitions for raced


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


  1. a contest of speed, as in running, swimming, driving, riding, etc
  2. any competition or rivalrythe race for the White House
  3. rapid or constant onward movementthe 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 energya 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. Australian and NZ a narrow passage or enclosure in a sheep yard through which sheep pass individually, as to a sheep dip
  7. Australian a wire tunnel through which footballers pass from the changing room onto a football field
  8. NZ a line of containers coupled together, used in mining to transport coal
  9. another name for slipstream (def. 1)
  10. archaic the span or course of life
  11. not in the race Australian 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 pastimeto 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
See also race off, races

Word Origin for race

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


  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, etcthe 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

Word Origin for race

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


  1. a ginger root

Word Origin for race

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

Word Origin and History for raced



"act of running," c.1300, from Old Norse ras "running, rush (of water)," cognate with Old English ræs "a running, a rush, a leap, jump; a storming, an attack;" or else a survival of the Old English word with spelling influenced by the Old Norse one. The Norse and Old English words are from Proto-Germanic *res- (cf. Middle Dutch rasen "to rave, rage," German rasen, Old English raesettan "to rage" (of fire)), from a variant form of PIE *ers- "be in motion" (see err). Originally a northern word, it became general in English c.1550. Meaning "act of running" is from early 14c. Meaning "contest of speed" first recorded 1510s.



"people of common descent," a word from the 16th century, from Middle French race, earlier razza "race, breed, lineage, family" (16c.), possibly from Italian razza, of unknown origin (cf. Spanish and Portuguese raza). Etymologists say no connection with Latin radix "root," though they admit this might have influenced the "tribe, nation" sense.

Original senses in English included "wines with characteristic flavor" (1520), "group of people with common occupation" (c.1500), and "generation" (1540s). Meaning "tribe, nation, or people regarded as of common stock" is by 1560s. Modern meaning of "one of the great divisions of mankind based on physical peculiarities" is from 1774 (though as OED points out, even among anthropologists there never has been an accepted classification of these).

Just being a Negro doesn't qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine. [Dick Gregory, 1964]

In mid-20c. U.S. music catalogues, "Negro." Klein suggests these derive from Arabic ra's "head, beginning, origin" (cf. Hebrew rosh). Old English þeode meant both "race, folk, nation" and "language;" as a verb, geþeodan, it meant "to unite, to join."



c.1200, rasen "to rush," from a Scandinavian source akin to the source of race (n.1), reinforced by the noun in English and by Old English cognate ræsan "to rush headlong, hasten, enter rashly." Meaning "run swiftly" is from 1757. Meaning "run in competition against" is from 1809. Transitive sense of "cause to run" is from 1860. In reference to an engine, etc., "run with uncontrolled speed," from 1862. Related: Raced; racing.



"strong current of water," late 14c., perhaps a particular use of race (n.1), or from or influenced by Old French raz, which had a similar meaning, and which probably is from Breton raz "a strait, narrow channel;" this French source also may have given race its meaning of "channel of a stream" (especially an artificial one to a mill), which is recorded in English from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

raced in Medicine


  1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
  2. A population of organisms differing from others of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits; a subspecies.
  3. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

raced in Science


    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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with raced


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

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