ethnic

eth·nic (ĕth’nĭk)
adj. 1) a) Of, relating to, or characteristic of a group of people sharing a common cultural or national heritage and often sharing a common language or religion. b) Being a member of a particular ethnic group, especially belonging to a national group by heritage or culture but residing outside its national boundaries: »

ethnic Hungarians living in northern Serbia.

c) Of, relating to, or distinctive of members of such a group: »

ethnic restaurants; ethnic art.

2) Archaic Relating to a people not Christian or Jewish.
n. A member of a particular ethnic group, especially one who maintains the language or customs of the group.
[Middle English, heathen, from Late Latin ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos, from ethnos, people, nation; see s(w)e-.]
Word History: When it is said in a Middle English text written before 1400 that a part of a temple fell down and "mad a gret distruccione of ethnykis," one wonders which ethnicity was singled out for death. The word ethnic in this context, however, means "gentile," coming as it does from the Greek adjective ethnikos, meaning "national, foreign, gentile." The adjective is derived from the noun ethnos, "people, nation, foreign people," that in the plural phrase ta ethnē meant "foreign nations." In translating the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, this phrase was used for Hebrew gōyīm, "gentiles"; hence the sense of the noun in the Middle English quotation. The current sense of the word emerged in the 19th century, probably under the influence of other words going back to Greek ethnos, such as ethnography and ethnology.

Word Histories. 2014.

Synonyms:
(as distinguished from Jewish and Christian), , /


Look at other dictionaries:

  • ethnic — is now principally used to denote a section of a community having distinct racial, cultural, religious, or linguistic characteristics not shared by the rest of the community. Ethnic is typically used to describe clothing, dance, music, and other… …   Modern English usage

  • ethnic — UK US /ˈeθnɪk/ adjective ► relating to a race or national group of people: »The factory s workforce reflects the ethnic mix of the local population. ► from a different race, or interesting because characteristic of an ethnic group which is very… …   Financial and business terms

  • ethnic — (n.) late 14c., Scottish, heathen, pagan, and having that sense first in English; as an adj. from late 15c. from L. ethnicus, Gk. ethnikos, from ethnos band of people living together, nation, people, prop. “people of one s own kind,” from PIE …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ethnic — Eth nic, Ethnical Eth nic*al, a. [L. ethnicus, Gr. ?, fr. ? nation, ? ? the nations, heathens, gentiles: cf. F. ethnique.] 1. Belonging to races or nations; based on distinctions of race; ethnological. [1913 Webster] 2. Pertaining to the gentiles …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ethnic — Eth nic . 1. A heathen; a pagan. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] No better reported than impure ethnic and lay dogs. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. a member of an ethnic group. [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ethnic — ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to a group of people having a common national or cultural tradition. 2) referring to origin by birth rather than by present nationality: ethnic Albanians. 3) relating to a non Western cultural tradition: ethnic music.… …   English terms dictionary

  • ethnic — [eth′nik] adj. [ME ethnik < LL(Ec) ethnicus, pagan < Gr ethnikos, national (in LGr(Ec), gentile, heathen) < ethnos, nation, people, ta ethnē, nations (in LXX, non Jews, in N.T., gentile Christians): akin to ēthos: see ETHICAL] 1. Now… …   English World dictionary

  • ethnic — [adj] racial, cultural indigenous, national, native, traditional, tribal; concept 549 …   New thesaurus

  • ethnic — 01. There is often prejudice against minority [ethnic] groups. 02. The former Yugoslavia is having a lot of problems with conflicts between the different [ethnic] groups in the region. 03. I believe that Chinese speakers are the second largest… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • ethnic — eth|nic1 [ eθnık ] adjective ** 1. ) relating to a group of people who have the same culture and traditions: The country s population consists of three main ethnic groups. a ) used about fighting between people from different ethnic groups living …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ethnic — eth|nic1 W3 [ˈeθnık] adj [Date: 1300 1400; : Late Latin; Origin: ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos, from ethnos nation, people ] 1.) relating to a particular race, nation, or tribe and their customs and traditions ▪ The school teaches pupils from… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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