Caucasian

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See also: caucasian

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A Caucasian (adjective sense 1) family – in this case Russian settlers, possibly Molokans – in the Mugan plain of Azerbaijan, photographed by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky c. 1905–1915.

From Caucasus (mountain range in Eastern Europe between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea) +‎ -ian (suffix forming adjectives with the sense ‘from, related to, or like’, or forming nouns with the sense ‘one from, belonging to, relating to, or like’).[1] The anthropological sense (no longer regarded as scientific) was popularized by the German anthropologist and physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840), based on the belief that the first humans originated from there.[2][3]

Noun sense 2 (“cocktail”) was popularized by the film The Big Lebowski (1998): see the quotation.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

Caucasian (comparative more Caucasian, superlative most Caucasian)

  1. Of or relating to the Caucasus region or its culture, languages, and people.
    Synonym: Caucasic
  2. (anthropology, dated) Of a racial classification pertaining to people having certain phenotypical features such as straight, curly, or wavy hair and very light to brown pigmented skin, and originating from Europe, parts of Northern Africa and Central, South, and Western Asia.
    Synonyms: Caucasoid, Europid
  3. (Canada, US) Of a person: having a white complexion and European ancestry; white.

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Noun[edit]

Caucasian (plural Caucasians)

A couple, both Caucasians (noun sense 5), seated on a park bench.
  1. A native or inhabitant of the Caucasus.
  2. (alcoholic beverages, humorous) Synonym of White Russian (a cocktail consisting of coffee liqueur, milk, and vodka)
  3. (anthropology, dated) A member of the Caucasian racial classification (adjective sense 2).
  4. (linguistics) A group of languages spoken in the Caucasus region.
  5. (Canada, US) A white person.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:white person
    • 2008, Ridley Pearson, chapter 2, in Killer View, Jove premium edition, New York, N.Y.: Jove Books, published 2009, →ISBN:
      The male Caucasian, twenty-four, a skier, was said to have been missing for over three hours.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Caucasian, adj. and n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2018; “Caucasian, adj. and n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.
  2. ^ Io. Frid. Blumenbach [i.e., Johann Friedrich Blumenbach] (1795) , “Sectio IV. Generis humani varietates quinae principes, species vero unica.”, in De generis hvmani varietate nativa [] [The Natural Variety of the Human Race] (in Latin), 3rd edition, Göttingen, Lower Saxony: Vandenhoek et Rvprecht, OCLC 62621989, § 82 (Characteres et limites harum varietatum), page 289.
  3. ^ Stephen Jay Gould (November 1994) , “The Geometer of Race”, in Discover[1], Waukesha, Wis.: Kalmbach Publishing Co., ISSN 0274-7529, OCLC 1054391357, archived from the original on 20 January 2021, retrieved 12 April 2021, pages 65–69:
    Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752–1840), the German anatomist and naturalist who established the most influential of all racial classifications, invented this name [Caucasian] in 1795, in the third edition of his seminal work, De Generis Humani Varietate Nativa (On the Natural Variety of Mankind). Blumenbach’s definition cites two reasons for his choice—the maximal beauty of the people from this small region, and the probability that humans were first created in this area.

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