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See also: teuton and teutón


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PIE word

Attested since 1720, from Latin Teutonēs, Teutonī (the Teutons)[1] (cf. Ancient Greek Τεύτονες (Teútones)), a Germanic or Celtic tribe that inhabited a coastal area in today's Germany and devastated Gaul between 113 and 101 BCE. Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂ (people), from which come:


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈt(j)uː.tən/, /ˈt(j)uː.tɒn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈt(j)u.tən/, /ˈt(j)u.tɑn/



Teuton (plural Teutons)

  1. (historical) A member of an early Germanic tribe living in Jutland noted in historical writings by Greek and Roman authors.
    • 1864, Charles Kingsley, The Roman and the Teuton: A Series of Lectures Delivered Before the University of Cambridge, page 220:
      The difference between the Clergy and the Teuton conquerors was more than a difference of creed, or of civilization. It was an actual difference of race. They were Romans, to whom the Teuton was a savage, speaking a different tongue, obeying different laws, his whole theory of the universe different from the Roman.
    • 1946, Arnold Joseph Toynbee, A Study of History[1], volume 1, page 153:
      We have noted that the Teutonic layer of European barbarians, unlike the Celtic layer, resisted the disintegrating action of Hellenism to such effect that the Teutons were able to take their place in the external proletariat of the Hellenic World and to dispatch the Hellenic Society in its death agonies with the coup de grâce.
    • 2007, Judika Illes, Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting[2], page 8:
      Some fifteen hundred years ago, the Teuton tribes of Northern Europe held an annual ceremony. [] We can't presume to understand all that this specific ritual meant to the Teutons nor precisely what their expectations might have been.
    • 2012, Peter Longerich, Heinrich Himmler: A Life[3], page 271:
      What he imagined the social order and the experience of the Teutons actually to have been, and why this lost world should represent an ideal, is, it must be said, hard to discover. His pronouncements on the Teutons of the Dark Ages are decidedly sparse.
  2. (historical) A member of the Teutonic Order.
    • 2008, K. M. Lucchese, Folk Like Me: The Read-Aloud Book of Saints[4], page 51:
      The third threat, from the Teutonic Knights of Germany, was the worst, because the Crusader Teutons wanted not only Russian land but also to kill off the people of Russia because they were a different kind of Christian from them!
    • 2009, Kadir I. Natho, Circassian History[5], page 177:
      Its garrison consisted of the Templars and Hospitalliers, the knights of Cyprus, Teutons, French, English, Pizzan, Venetian, and Genoan mercenaries. [] On the following day the New Tower of the city, which was defended by the Teuton knights, was taken by assault.
  3. A member of any Germanic-language-speaking people, especially a German.
    • 1901, Edward Alsworth Ross, Social Control: A Survey of the Foundations of Order, published 2009, page 16:
      In the first place, a prolonged struggle in the North Temperate Zone, with a harsh, though not a depressing, natural environment, endows the Teuton with unusual energy and initiative. Then centuries of wanderings in which the strong set forth and the weak and timid stay behind, brings the Teuton to the west of Europe, to the British Isles, and to America, with a courage, enterprise, and self-assertion rare in the history of man. The Teuton becomes the Anglo-Saxon, and therewith less apt for the gregarious life.
    • 1915, G. K. Chesterton, The Crimes of England, published 2008, unnumbered page:
      Every Teuton must fall on his face before an inferior Teuton; until they all find, in the foul marshes towards the Baltic, the very lowest of all possible Teutons, and worship him--and find he is a Slav. So much for Pan-Germanism.
    • 1976, Harry R. Boer, A Short History of the Early Church[6], page 122:
      The history of the Teutons, or Germans, as they are more commonly called, is very much like that of the Bantu in central Africa.





Teuton (comparative more Teuton, superlative most Teuton)

  1. Synonym of Teutonic.
    • 1881, James Bonwick, “Preface”, in Who Are the Welsh? (Our Nationalities; III), London: David Bogue, [], pages iii–iv:
      While some families of the oldest Welsh stocks talk English only, a large number, whose forefathers were Teuton, Norse, or Irish, now converse in Cymraeg.
    • 1886 December 18, Richard Jefferies, “Just Before Winter”, in R[obert] Chambers (Secundus), editor, Chambers’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, fifth series, volume III, number 155, London, Edinburgh: W[illiam] & R[obert] Chambers, page 803, column 2:
      Had the Jews been so fixed a type, by this time their offspring would have been more numerous than the Chinese. The reverse, however, is the case; and therefore, we may suppose they must have become extinct, had it not been for fresh supplies of Saxon, Teuton, Spanish, and Italian blood.
    • 1986, Clarence J. Karier, Scientists of the Mind: Intellectual Founders of Modern Psychology, Urbana, Ill., Chicago, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, →ISBN, page 183:
      While the social system could thus be improved, [G. Stanley] Hall knew that heredity was more important. He argued that a pound of heredity was “worth a hundredweight of education.” It was necessary to pay attention to better breeding: “The nation that breeds best, be it Mongol, Slav, Teuton or Saxon, will rule the world in the future.”

See also



  1. ^ “Teutŏni”, in: Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short: A Latin Dictionary. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1879.