Indian

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See also: indian, Indián, and indián

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Anglo-Norman indien, Middle French indien, corresponding to Ind +‎ -ian.

Adjective[edit]

Indian (comparative more Indian, superlative most Indian)

  1. Of or relating to India or its people; or (formerly) of the East Indies. [from 14th c.]
    Synonyms: Desi, Hindian, Indish
  2. (obsolete) Eastern; Oriental.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, volume 10:
      The morrow next apprear'd with purple hayre / Yet dropping fresh out of the Indian fount, / And bringing light into the heavens fayre [] .
  3. (chess) Designating any of various chess openings now characterised by black's attempt to control the board through knights and fianchettoed bishops rather than with a central pawn advance. [from 19th c.]

Synonyms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

Indian (plural Indians)

  1. A person from India. [from 13th c.]
  2. (now rare, historical) An indigenous inhabitant of Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific islands. [from 18th c.]
  3. (uncountable) Indian cuisine; traditional Indian food.
  4. (Britain, colloquial) A meal at (or taken away from) an Indian restaurant. [from 20th c.]
    We're going out tonight for an Indian.
  5. (Britain, colloquial) An Indian restaurant.
    We're going down the Indian for a curry - wanna join us?

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

Indian

  1. (nonstandard, rare) Any language spoken by natives of India, especially Hindi.
    • 1968 Anne Rider, A hilltop in hazard, page 51:
      [They said] 'Mutton can speak Indian', 'Mutton can see Kanchinjunga out of his bedroom window'[.]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Spanish indio, possibly Jesuit missionary jargon from Spanish niño en Dios (child in God), or a contraction of indígena ("indigenous [person]") + -o (gender-masculine suffix); influenced by Etymology 1.

Noun[edit]

Indian (plural Indians)

  1. (sensitive) A member of one of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (generally excluding the Aleut, Inuit, Metis, or Yupik). [from 16th c.]
    • 1819-1820, Washington Irving, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon:
      We stigmatize the Indians, also, as cowardly and treacherous, because they use stratagem in warfare in preference to open force; but in this they are fully justified by their rude code of honor.
    • 2004, Louis L'Amour, Rustlers of West Fork
      With savage desperation the Indian lunged his horse straight at Hopalong and, knife in hand, leaped for him!

Usage notes[edit]

  • Use of the word in the sense "indigenous to the Americas" is now deprecated as a misleading term that has developed racist connotations. Peoples of North American origin overwhelmingly prefer to be referred to by their tribe/nation, and have begun otherwise espousing the term "Native (American)" or "Indigenous (Canadian/Mexican)."

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

Indian (comparative more Indian, superlative most Indian)

  1. Of or relating to India or its people; or (formerly) of the East Indies. [from 14th c.]
    Synonyms: Desi, Hindian, Indish
  2. (obsolete) Eastern; Oriental.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, volume 10:
      The morrow next apprear'd with purple hayre / Yet dropping fresh out of the Indian fount, / And bringing light into the heavens fayre [] .
  3. Of or relating to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. [from 16th c.]
    • 1879, Friedrich August Flückiger & al., Pharmacographia..., p. 346:
      The hardships of bark-collecting in the primeval forests of South America are of the severest kind, and undergone only by the half-civilized Indians and people of mixed race, in the pay of speculators or companies located in the towns.
  4. (Canada, US, of foods) Made with Indian corn or maize. [from 17th c.]
    Indian bread; Indian meal

Usage notes[edit]

See Noun.Usage notes.

Derived terms[edit]

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Proper noun[edit]

Indian

  1. (nonstandard) Any of the (unrelated) languages spoken by American Indians.

Interlingua[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

Indian

  1. Indian (of India)
  2. Native American; Indian