Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sizable group of people sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural heritage.
  • adj. Being a member of a particular ethnic group, especially belonging to a national group by heritage or culture but residing outside its national boundaries: ethnic Hungarians living in northern Serbia.
  • adj. Relating to a people not Christian or Jewish.
  • n. A member of a particular ethnic group, especially one who maintains the language or customs of the group.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or relating to a group of people having common racial, national, religious or cultural origins.
  • adj. Belonging to a foreign culture.
  • adj. Heathen, not Judeo-Christian.
  • n. An ethnic person, notably said when a foreigner or member of an immigrant community
  • n. An ethnic minority
  • n. A heathen, a pagan
  • n. the demonym of an Ancient Greek city

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Belonging to races or nations; based on distinctions of race; ethnological.
  • adj. Pertaining to the gentiles, or nations not converted to Christianity; heathen; pagan; -- opposed to Jewish and Christian.
  • adj. of or pertaining to a group having a distinct racial, cultural, religious or linguistic character.
  • adj. being a member of a distinct racial or cultural minority within a larger population.
  • n. A heathen; a pagan.
  • n. a member of an ethnic group.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to race; peculiar to a race or nation; ethnological.
  • Pertaining to the gentiles or nations not converted to Christianity; heathen; pagan: opposed to Jewish and Christian.
  • n. A heathen; a gentile; a pagan.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not acknowledging the God of Christianity and Judaism and Islam
  • adj. denoting or deriving from or distinctive of the ways of living built up by a group of people
  • n. a person who is a member of an ethnic group

Etymologies

Middle English, heathen, from Late Latin ethnicus, from Greek ethnikos, from ethnos, people, nation.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French ethnique, from Latin ethnicus ("pagan", "heathen"), from Ancient Greek ἐθνικός (ethnikos, "of or for a nation, heathen"), from ἔθνος (ethnos, "a company", later "a people or nation, heathens"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The man renowned as the “Butcher of the Balkans”—engineer of bloody ethnic wars across the former Yugoslavia, from Bosnia and Croatia to Kosovo, and whose actions created the term ethnic cleansing—hung on through debilitating sanctions and even a seventy-eight-day NATO bombing blitz in 1999 to force Serbian units out of Kosovo.

    Let the Swords Encircle Me

  • This was the war that popularized the term "ethnic cleansing," a euphemism for the forced transfer of populations purely on the basis of their ethnic background or religion.

    News

  • Through them it examines the broader conflict, which killed more than 100,000 people, displaced 2 million more and introduced the term "ethnic cleansing" to the lexicon of war.

    NYT > Home Page

  • "The term 'ethnic cleansing' did not yet exist, but the reality surely did," Judt writes.

    Slate Articles

  • The subject matter is a vivid and graphically explicit look at the fratricidal Bosnian war of the 1990s, which pitted Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia against each other along ethnic and religious lines, leaving an estimated 100,000 people dead, 50,000 women raped and introduced the term "ethnic cleansing" to the lexicon of war.

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph

  • As the term ethnic cleansing has only recently been used since the war in Yugoslavia, I will revert to the term genocide to illustrate my point.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • The term ethnic cleansing became synonymous with Bosnia as Serb forces there loyal to and paid for by Milosevic tried to carve out a separate state by forcibly moving the non-Serb civilian population.

    CNN Transcript Mar 11, 2006

  • The term ethnic cleansing became synonymous with Bosnia, as Serb forces there loyal to and paid for by Milosevic tried to carve out a separate state by forcibly moving the non-Serb civilian population.

    CNN Transcript Mar 11, 2006

  • The term ethnic cleansing became synonymous with Bosnia, as Serb force there loyal to and paid for by Milosevic tried to carve out a separate state by forcibly moving the non-Serb civilian population.

    CNN Transcript Mar 11, 2006

  • His often brutal methods gave rise to the term ethnic cleansing.

    Milosevic, Slobodan

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