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Alternative forms[edit]


From French ethnique, from Latin ethnicus ("pagan", "heathen"), from Ancient Greek ἐθνικός (ethnikós, of or for a nation, heathen), from ἔθνος (éthnos, a company", later "a people or nation, heathens).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɛθ.nɪk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛθnɪk


ethnic (comparative more ethnic, superlative most ethnic)

  1. Of or relating to a group of people having common racial, ancestral, national, religious or cultural origins.
    There are many ethnic Indonesians in the Netherlands
  2. Characteristic of a foreign or a minority group's culture.
    I like to eat ethnic food
  3. Representative of a folk or traditional mode of expression.
    • 2008, Ronald D. Cohen, A History of Folk Music Festivals in the United States[1]:
      Indeed, such ethnic music festivals were probably common throughout the country
    • 1990, European Review of Native American Studies Volumess 4-6[2]:
      contemporary artists are victims of the dichotomization of fine art and folk or ethnic art, where the latter must evince standardized techniques of simplicity, naivete, naturalism, and exoticism.
    • 2012. Popular Music in America: The Beat Goes On. Michael Campbell.
      popular music is usually positioned between classical music on the one hand and folk or ethnic music on the other.
    • 2012. Exploring American Folk Music: Ethnic, Grassroots, and Regional Traditions. Kip Lornell.
      Once you dig below the surface you discover folk, grassroots, and ethnic music throughout the United States
  4. (historical) Heathen, not Jewish, Christian, or Muslim.


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


ethnic (plural ethnics)

  1. An ethnic person, especially a foreigner or member of an immigrant community.
  2. (archaic) A heathen, a pagan.
  3. (in classical scholarship) The demonym of an Ancient Greek city.
    • 2006. Cohen. The Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, the Red Sea Basin & North Africa, 151:
      "Coinage with the ethnic ΑΝΤΙΟΧΕΩΝ ΠΡΟΣ ΕΥΦΡΑΤΗΝ survives from the mid-second century A.D."


Further reading[edit]