- The definition of ethnic is someone or something associated with a particular subgroup that has a shared national original, cultural identity or race.
An example of ethnic is Mexican food.
- An ethnic is defined as a person who is a member of a specific racial or cultural group that is considered a minority.
An example of an ethnic in the United States is a person from Mexico.
- Now Rare heathen
- designating or of a population subgroup having a common cultural heritage or nationality, as distinguished by customs, characteristics, language, common history, etc.
Origin: Middle English ethnik ; from Ecclesiastical Late Latin ethnicus, pagan ; from Classical Greek ethnikos, national (in Ecclesiastical Late Greek gentile, heathen) ; from ethnos, nation, people, ta ethnē, nations (in Septuagint non-Jews, inch(es) New Testament , gentile Christians): akin to ēthos: see ethical
- ethnically adverb
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- a. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sizable group of people sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural heritage.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.
- Relating to a people not Christian or Jewish.
Origin: Middle English, heathen, from Late Latin ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos, from ethnos, people, nation; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.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 why ethnics were 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 noun ethnic in this sense or the related sense “heathen” is not recorded after 1728, although the related adjective sense is still used. But probably under the influence of other words going back to Greek ethnos, such as ethnography and ethnology, the adjective ethnic broadened in meaning in the 19th century. After this broadening the noun sense “a member of a particular ethnic group,” first recorded in 1945, came into existence.