Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

Example of Euphemism[edit]

John, a Caucasian, is walking along with his friend Bob, a Nigerian. Both of them are normal people who do not like Nazis. Both of them see Richard up ahead. John has met Richard before and John knows that Richard is a neo-Nazi; but Bob has never met Richard and is unaware. Bob, being friendly, thus says to John, ‘Hmm, we ought to go strike up a conversation with that fellow over there’. John warns his friend, ‘No, no... you definitely don't want to try to strike up a conversation with him... he's an Aryan’.

How this works[edit]

Because Bob knows that John is not a Nazi, he can figure out that John is implying that Richard has used the term to describe himself — and by ‘Aryan’ being a term that, as a racial term, is used mainly by individuals of a neo-Nazi political persuasion, that Richard must be of the necessary persuasion to use that term. Ie, Richard is a neo-Nazi.

Discussion of the example[edit]

That would make sense, but insofar as cites use "Aryan" to mean "white supremacist", it actually seems (to me at least) to be an extension of the use of "Aryan" in names of white supremacist groups. —RuakhTALK 17:27, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, it's only an example, not the only situation in which the ‘Nazi’ meaning can be constructed. It's the mechanism (in my understanding). Taking the word from a white supremacist group and extending it seems to be working along the same lines, ie ‘this is their word, so I'll use it to describe them’. Of course, we could always add another example. — Beobach972 17:41, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Etymological relevance of invasion[edit]

i think it is clearly not relevant to state - "In Zorastrian and Hindu holy books (the Avesta and Vedas, respectively), invading peoples are described coming to the region." in the dictionary, it is debatable how that is relevant to the definition & is (or atleast should be) discussed in the 'article' on arya. - —This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 2006-07-11 09:54:12.

Thanks. Fixed. Rod (A. Smith) 01:48, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

From RFV/RFC, and related discussion[edit]

I have heard Aryan used by (neo-)National Socialists, but I have never heard the term used as a synonym for one. Can someone verify the given sense : (used by Neo-Nazis) A Neo-Nazi? In my experience, when someone (NS or not) says 'John is an Aryan', he means 'John has blond hair and blue eyes', not 'John [regardless of his race] is politically a National Socialist'. (I altered the second sense to that effect -- ie, both Hitler-era and modern National Socialists use the term to refer to that mythical 'master race'.) Similarly, on the adjective senses -- I have heard it used in N. S. propaganda to refer to the 'master-race' (and I have added that sense), but I have never heard it used to mean 'National Socialist propaganda'; or (as with the above noun sense) to mean 'National Socialist'. Can anyone verify these senses? Beobach972 03:47, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

Moved from above. I am not qualified to answer this one. Will someone else have a go? Thanks 16:48, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Dunno. What is a National Socialist? A neo-Nazi in America seems to have a rather different meaning (but I'll guess it has all the same connotaions?) I've often heard the terms Aryan, neo-Nazi and white supremacist used interchangably on TV news. Perhaps if you could identify what country your term has that meaning, it might clarify things a little. --Connel MacKenzie 23:17, 12 August 2006 (UTC)
Nowhere; neither in Britain nor America nor Germany (where the term is often a blanket insult) have I heard the term 'Aryan' used to mean 'Nazi'. Aryan is an ethnic classification, not a political one. (And, as has been twice said now but as I'll repeat because of the exemplary nature of the statement - Hitler was not Aryan.) Beobach972 22:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
From the description of usage that Connel MacKenzie has given, it seems to me that the tag on those senses should be altered from 'used by Neo-Nazis' (since it does not, from his description, seem to be the Neo-Nazis that are using the term in that manner, rather the media); however, I still cannot find attestations of use in that manner. Beobach972 22:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Hitler was a Nazi, he was not however an Aryan, and while most Neo Nazi's probably are Aryans, the two are not the same. Floatingtrem 06:51, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
If you remove the discussion tags again, while this sensitive entry is being discussed, you will be blocked. --Connel MacKenzie 07:13, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Exactly; I think the person that added those definitions (about 'Aryan' meaning 'Nazi') simply confused the two words due to the belief that most National Socialists are Aryans (and possibly also the mistaken belief that the reverse is true). Beobach972 22:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Aryan was never used to mean National Socialist (Nazi for short). They used it to represent what they thought of as the "supreme" image: blonde hair, blue eyes. Ironically, as Connel said earlier, Hitler was not aryan.
Aryan also refers to a civilization from around the time of the Vedas (I think that's right. I'm trying to remember back to my world history class). Foxjwill 20:37, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Right, but within American English, the "technically correct" meaning of "Aryan" should be labelled as {{obsolete}}{{archaic}} as it is only used in rare textbooks now. It seems as if the wrong definitions were tagged with "rfv" here. --Connel MacKenzie 21:01, 13 August 2006 (UTC) (edit)
I disagree that it is archaic; the word is used in many books in the context of the Vedas, etc, as Foxjwill said. I do not intend to get into a hunt for that sense too; but after a little research, I can cite you usage in the Vedic sense in at least one widespread American school textbook : →ISBN. Beobach972 22:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for proving my point. Outside of textbooks, the colloquial American English meaning for 1) The Iranian Vedas and 2) The Nazi blonde/blue-eyed "Master Race" genetic ideal are {{archaic}} or {{obsolete}}.
I had a hard drive crash yesterday, just as I had about a dozen tabs open for citations of the common American meaning...the white supremacist/Aryan Brotherhood (or Nation)/Neo-Nazi/KKK/Aryan synonymous usage. Weeding through the predominantly European texts on the subject was proving to be quite tiresome. But as I understand that a flamewar errupted between de.wikipedia and en.wikipedia as the result of bizarre translations, I will get these citations entered soon. Hopefully WMF's Euorepan contributors will have an opportunity to learn something about their misconceptions about the English language in the process. --Connel MacKenzie 13:01, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for defining National Socialist. I had no idea that it meant that. --Connel MacKenzie 21:06, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Back to the point, boys and girls. We've dealt with the noun. Can it be used as an adjective for Nazi propoganda? —This unsigned comment was added by Andrew massyn (talkcontribs). as of 20:40, August 13, 2006

What is your rush? Do you want us to get this right or not? --Connel MacKenzie 13:01, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Maybe some of these senses come from activities of the fairly well known international anti-Semitic white nationalist group Aryan Nations? --Versageek 03:18, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Noun sense: # (used by Neo-Nazis) A Neo-Nazi.

I have deleted this sense. Andrew massyn 03:44, 10 September 2006 (UTC) - Please look at the adjective sense retained and see if the quotes perhaps need to go to this deleted noun sense. If so, please do the necessary. Andrew massyn

Adjective: Pertaining to Nazi propaganda and racialist theories: I have deleted this sense as it is a mere duplication of the previous sense on the article page. Andrew massyn 04:44, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Adjective: Pertaining to Neo-Nazi movements, people, etc. I have retained this sense and cited. Please keep spelling as it comes from the citation. Andrew massyn 05:08, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

    • "The year is 2025, White people HAVE become a MINORITY in America. On our streets hang Aryan men who refused to accept the "New Way," or perhaps they just looked too White."[[1]

I don't think that quote demonstrates clearly the specific definition of the word to which it is attatched : it could be interpreted as 'on our streets hang blond-haired, blue-eyed men' (especially with the context of 'they just looked too White') or as 'on our streets hang Nazi men', it therefore does not help clarify. Does anyone object to the removal of that quote, due to its equivocal nature? Beobach972 03:26, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

I will remove the quote. Andrew massyn 13:26, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

The Nazi use of the word "Aryan" refer specifically to "non-jewish caucasians" and in earlier times simply to "Nordics". But the Nazis did not only classify "blue/green-eyed blonds" as Aryans, they only idealized the traits. The reason is because such fair complexion was not only considered the most aesthetically pleasing, but was also an "indication" of Nordic heritage. IT WAS NOT A REQUIREMENT TO BEING ARYAN IN NAZI GERMANY. SO technically according to Nazi doctrine, Hitler WAS an Aryan and was considered a member of the race just like every other German ALIVE at the time was, regardless of the color of their hair or eyes. And lots of Nazi propaganda features "Aryan" brunettes, and even is some athletic art. - [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

  • I would have preferred a reminder, that I had lost track of this entry, on my talk page, rather than the subtle removal of the most relevant parts of this entry. --Connel MacKenzie 09:44, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm gonna have to agree that the first definition is rubbish, and that the other ones aren't "rare". The word has been tainted by associations with Nazism and racism, but it remains, as far as I'm aware, the correct ethnographical term for the concerned "race". The shown quotes do not back up the claim that "Aryan" can be equated with KKK-member or white supremacist. Paul Willocx 22:23, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

Say what? --Connel MacKenzie 05:23, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
The discussion did not lead to a clear conclusion, so I figured I could add my two cents? I'm not sure what's confusing you. Paul Willocx 08:04, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
How can you possibly be so confused, Paul, to say that those quotes don't support the only current definition, that you called "rubbish"? The definitions that are listed as rare, are rare, and used only in a very narrow context by only a handful of academics. Being of such limited scope, those definitions probably shouldn't be listed here at all. An etymological note, really, is all that is warranted, for them. --Connel MacKenzie 08:24, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
The current definition as it stands is rubbish. Of course "Aryan" nowadays is associated with white supremacists and the KKK, but to equate the two is absurd. In the quotes you give, one talks of an "Aryan past"; I think it's clear that that does not mean a "white supremacist past" so much as a "white past". The others talk of "Aryan-supremacist": the comparison with "white supremacist" seems fairly obvious. I would have no problems with a definition amended to something like "white person (mostly used in neo-Nazi and white-supremacist circles)". My problem with the definition as it stands is that going by this definition, a non-racist white/Caucasian person would not be considered an Aryan, when clearly they should be. Paul Willocx 08:35, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
I do not understand why you wish to cover up the true meaning of this word. Yes, I am well aware of the extensive trolling on Wikipedia on this topic. "Clearly" you are wrong. I do wonder what region you think you represent, when you say inflammatory things like "the current rubbish" or "to equate the two is absurd." You could not, here in America, say to someone that they are Aryan without a dangerous racist implication; in a KKK context, you'd be calling them a KKK member. In a white supremacist context, you would be calling them a white supremacist (even if non-white.) Without a qualifier like "Of Aryan descent", you couldn't even say "Aryan" in a hospital setting, without being misunderstood. The nonsense definitions are the ones that specify "ethnographic" origin, as they are obsolete and only of value as etymological notes. --Connel MacKenzie 08:57, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
You are flirting with the borders of the policies on assuming good faith, what with your "cover up" and "trolling" insinuations for no reason at all. I wasn't aware that disagreeing with you was frowned upon here... or at least by you. Anyhow. "A dangerous racist implication" - that would be why I added the note between parentheses after the rough alternative I suggested. I am not disagreeing with you that the use of the word "Aryan" is frowned upon, due to, again, its association with the KKK and neo-Nazis. What is rubbish is that, as the definition stands, a hypothetical black KKK member should be considered an "Aryan", whereas a Caucasian who dedicates his life to fighting the KKK should not. Both are absurd. As for the others being obsolete, Merriam-Webster disagrees (and indeed does not mention modern white supremacists at all, though it does mention the Nazis' use of the word). Paul Willocx 09:15, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
You weren't disagreeing, you were being insulting from the start. So of course you now cry wolf. Sheesh.
It is no mere association, it is the meaning of the word. If such a thing as a black KKK member were to exist, then yes, they would be called Aryan. And yes, calling a caucasian KKK fighter an Aryan would be very dangerous. I'm sure m-w will catch up eventually - they're only about 30 years behind now...but then, they aren't exactly known for being immediately up-to-date. In fact, they list dates of 1839, 1851 and 1881 for those meanings. On the other hand, has somewhat more reasonable results. --Connel MacKenzie 09:56, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
By calling the definition "rubbish" I had no intention of insulting whoever wrote it, and I'm sorry if you took it that way. As to your link - I'm not trying to be contrary here, but I genuinely don't see anything on that page that supports your stance. It does say that it's no longer in technical use for Indo-Europeans, you're right in that regard, but otherwise it contains definitions like "In Nazism and neo-Nazism, a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially one of Nordic type, supposed to be part of a master race." It does not make any mention of the word shifting in meaning from a purely racial meaning to a political one, and, as I said from the start, your three citations certainly don't unambiguously support that claim, either. All three make as much if not more sense with the old racial definition of "Aryan". So I'd say that, regardless of whether or not Aryan is used nowadays as synonym of white supremacist, it's definitely also used in white supremacist circles in its old Nazi definition, which should hence not be tagged with obsolete or whatever. And you should find less ambiguous quotations for the new meaning, imho. Paul Willocx 15:49, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
The issue of "confusion" and "rubbish" aside, I agree that finding more citations may help alleviate your concerns. FWIW, if you follow the citation links, you may understand the context they are in, better. In context, the usage clearly is not about the older/obsolete definition, for all three. But, as you say, more citations (ugh!) will show that more clearly. I have no idea how to verify or refute your speculation that "it's definitely also used in white supremacist circles in its old Nazi definition" but that seems unlikely. Have you found any citations supporting that? While the listing don't go into any detail on current use, they do indicate "no longer in technical use" for the definitions that are currently marked "rare" here. Since that refers to mid-to-late 19th and early 20th century use, it seems far-fetched to believe that those meanings have somehow resurfaced. Particularly when the general meaning of the term has only historic relations to them. --Connel MacKenzie 19:47, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
To clarify, I wasn't trying to claim that your links used "Aryan" as a neutral racial term of the kind that is said to be rare or outdated, but rather that they use it in the Nazi sense, or something closely resembling that. From the first of your three citations, a few lines further: "To them, the imagined community of Nazism stretches far further than Germany. It rests on a Pan-Aryanism that stretches from ancient Viking communities to white Europe and North America. Aryans, they insist, have a common history of victimization, from the hardships of Viking explorers and colonial settlers in the Americas to postwar Zionist assaults on German Aryans." (emphasis mine) And a quotation of my own to prove my claim, from "On a twenty-acre compound in Hayden Lake, deep in the forests of Northern Idaho, Pastor Butler began laying the foundations for an organization that would go on to become a major source of inspiration for thousands of National Socialists, Identity believers, survivalists and all White men and women who held pride in their genetic legacy as Aryans and who held within themselves the fanatical desire to strive for the territorial imperative of a future Homeland for White Aryans on the North American continent." (again emphasis mine) And possibly the strongest argument, from the third of your three quotations (Sternberg and Kaufman), the whole paragraph that starts with "One transmission advantage...". That paragraph essentially states that neo-Nazis want to feel superior but, instead of bragging about themselves, they do it in a roundabout way by proclaiming their race or their physical attributes to be superior (I'd copy-paste but I can't). Paul Willocx 20:10, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
From your emphasis above: "...White men and Aryans and who...Homeland for White Aryans on the North..." Even in that sentence, the writer tries to misuse "Aryan" but cannot, as they later have to re-qualify "White Aryans" as the specific thing they intended instead. That demonstrates quite well, that that meaning is not understood on its own, does it not? --Connel MacKenzie 20:08, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I noticed that before quoting it, obviously, but it's still made quite clear that it's a racial/genetic matter as in "their genetic legacy as Aryans" - if Aryans is merely an indication of political views, it's not genetic. And you didn't comment on my quotes from two of your own three links, which also make quite clear that Aryan is a matter of race, as does Wikipedia. Paul Willocx 20:28, 14 February 2007 (UTC)
I’m coming in in the middle of this and am not sure of what sentences or senses of Aryan are being discussed, but from the looks of it, there would seem to be a difference between the BrE and the AmE usage. I’m sure everyone agrees that Aryan has several senses, now mostly historical. Aryan is still a legitimate and unblemished technical term in linguistics (the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family, which comprises the southeasternmost component)j. It is used to refer to a certain prehistorical people that spoke a Proto-Indo-European dialect. It is also found in historical documents where it simply means Indo-European in a general sense; at one time, it was synonymous in linguistics with Indo-Iranian.
I assume we’re all in agreement about the meaning of Aryan in Nazi Germany, where it meant non-Jewish caucasians, especially those of Nordic stock, and in particular those whose Nordic heritage was clearly visible to the eye. In this case, it DID refer principally to a certain "race" (as human races were understood in those days), but it also had strong cultural and political overtones, since Nordic-looking Jews, even when almost pure Nordic stock, were not considered Aryan. Today, this has become more complex, because the racial terms and stereotypes that we all studied and learned throughout the mid to late 1900s (up to about 1990) are no longer accepted by sociologists and anthropologists and are now seen as misguided and narrowminded hogwash. So, there has to be a definition of the term as used by every educated person fifty years ago (so that a researcher will understand what the writer was trying to say), and a rather different, somewhat unpleasant definition of the term as used today. In the U.S., the word Aryan is the mirror image of nigger, and it evokes similar emotions and revulsion, at least among educated Americans. It still sees appropriate technical use among linguists, but as a "race", it is now used almost exclusively by white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
I get the impression that it carries less racist baggage among the British, but it’s very hard to be sure how Britons use and understand it. Just my two cents. —Stephen 09:22, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
I must disagree with the assertion that educated Amreicans regard the term "Aryan" as a derogatory racial epithet,
the usage of which should be scorned. The educated Americans ought to have a knowledge of history (which many of my
fellow Americans seem to lack), and its racial theories, that is sufficient to recognize the scientific (or pseudo-
scientific, as the case may be) meaning of the word. I like the fact that the definition you have provided implies that
not all Aryans must display stereotypical Nordic traits, and not all of them must be Nordic. The tall, blonde,
blue-eyed common image of an Aryan is merely meant to depict the ideal Aryan. Many seem to believe that an Aryan is a
person with blonde hair and blue eyes, when, in fact, "Ayan" is a racial classification, and not all Aryans display these
features. Bt degraaf 05:00, 5 May 2007 (UTC)bt_degraaf
What Stephen says ("as a "race", it is now used almost exclusively by white supremacists and neo-Nazis") is correct — it is used by neo-Nazis to mean Whites. The claim that it is used to mean neo-Nazis may or may not be rubbish (as Paul Willocx suggests it is) — I can't say. On the other hand, it is very obvious that such a definition is not currently supported by any evidence, whereas Stephen's definition is very well supported. For these reasons, I have corrected the given definitions. — Beobach972 05:52, 5 May 2007 (UTC)


Whoever re-wrote the definition (1) and added "marked by blond hair and blue eyes" is in error. In Nazism, hair and eye color were never the point. It was blood. The Nazi version of the "Aryan race" was NOT marked by color of the hair or eyes but by an individual's heritage. No doubt that the physical ideal of the Nazis was the tall blond (primarily because of it's sterotypical association with the Nordic "subrace"), but even then most Nordicists accepted that you didn't nessecarily have to be blond and blue eyed to be part of that racial type. Things such as height and skull shape were WAY more important. Also, the Nordic race (which was the Ideal) was one of many "Aryan" subraces in Germany, which also included the Alpine subrace and other non-blond subraces. Many people see the leaders of the Third Reich (who were mostly dark-haired) and say what hypocrites they were for not being "Aryan", when the fact is they actually WERE racially Aryan by their own definition (having ethnic German blood). Now if you can provide a quote or peice of legislation issued by Hitler that one must be "blond and blue-eyed" to be racially Aryan, then I'll apologize. And if I can remember correctly, many top Nazi leaders such as Goebbles and Goering despised Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Gunther and other Nordicists. I'm not trying to deny the Nordicist influence on Nazism, but the re-written definition is only enforcing a VERY large misconception about what an Aryan actually was. (This is why many teachers tell their students, "Hitler killed anyone without blond hair and blue eyes", because "Hitler killed anyone who wasnt Aryan"). You can actually look in a Third Reich encyclopedia (one that was printed by the Nazis) and see the definition of "aryan" and it (roughly) says "races that have lived in Europe for a long time".

I think the current definition is completely accurate the way it is and doesn't dwell on sterotypes and common misconceptions. It is much easier to understand.

—This unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 12:12, 12 May 2007 (UTC).


Sanskrit âryas is simply derived from the Teutic ("Proto-Indo-European") term alyos, that means "else", as the Teuta people ("Indo-Europeans") immigrating in India and Iran were of a different look from the autochtonous dwellers (black-haired and dark-skinned), with whom the former merged. The racial miscigenation rendered the meaning nonsensical, and thus the term got a new sense of "someone of superior culture", as opposed to the foreigners.-- 21:11, 10 July 2015 (UTC)