from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A group of people identified as distinct from other groups because of supposed physical or genetic traits shared by the group. Most biologists and anthropologists do not recognize race as a biologically valid classification, in part because there is more genetic variation within groups than between them.
  • noun A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution.
  • noun A genealogical line; a lineage.
  • noun Humans considered as a group.
  • noun A usually geographically isolated population of organisms that differs from other populations of the same species in certain heritable traits.
  • noun A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
  • noun A distinguishing or characteristic quality, such as the flavor of a wine.
  • noun A competition of speed, as in running or riding.
  • noun A series of such competitions held at a specified time on a regular course.
  • noun An extended competition in which participants struggle like runners to be the winner.
  • noun Steady or rapid onward movement.
  • noun A strong or swift current of water.
  • noun The channel of such a current.
  • noun An artificial channel built to transport water and use its energy.
  • noun A groovelike part of a machine in which a moving part slides or rolls.
  • intransitive verb Sports To compete in a contest of speed.
  • intransitive verb To move rapidly or at top speed.
  • intransitive verb To run too rapidly due to decreased resistance or unnecessary provision of fuel.
  • intransitive verb To compete against in a race.
  • intransitive verb To cause to compete in a race.
  • intransitive verb To transport rapidly or at top speed; rush.
  • intransitive verb To cause (an engine with the gears disengaged, for example) to run swiftly or too swiftly.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To run swiftly; run in, or as if engaged in, a contest of speed.
  • To run with uncontrolled speed; go or revolve wildly or with improper acceleration: said of a steam-engine, a wheel, a ship's screw, or the like, when resistance is diminished without corresponding diminution of power.
  • To practise horse-racing as an occupation; be engaged in the business of running horses.
  • To cause to run or move swiftly, push or drive onward in, or as if in, a trial of speed: as, to race a horse; to race steamers.
  • To run, or cause horses, etc., to run, in competition with; contend against in a race.
  • noun A rush; running; swift course.
  • noun A course which has to be run, passed over, or gone through; onward movement or progression; career.
  • noun A contest of speed; a competitive trial of speed, especially in running, but also in riding, driving, sailing, rowing, walking, or any mode of progression.
  • noun Course, as of events; progress.
  • noun Struggle; conflict; tumult; trouble.
  • noun Course; line of onward movement; way; route.
  • noun A strong or rapid current of water, or the channel or passage for such a current; a powerful current or heavy sea sometimes produced by the meeting of two tides: as, the Race of Alderney; Portland Race.
  • noun A canal or watercourse from a dam to a water-wheel: specifically called the head-race.
  • noun The watercourse which leads away the water after it leaves the wheel: specifically called the tail-race.
  • noun A root. See race-ginger, and hand, 13 .
  • To tear up; snatch away hastily.
  • An obsolete form of rase, raze.
  • In heraldry, same as indented.
  • noun A calcareous concretion in brick-earth.
  • noun The heart, liver, and lungs or lights of an animal, especially of a calf: same as pluck, 4.
  • noun The circnlar path traversed by a horse in driving a machine by a horse-whim; a gin-ring or gin-race.
  • noun In mech., an annular ring or groove in which the rollers of a roller-bearing, or the balls of a ball-bearing, travel; a ball-race; a roller-race. For a roller-bearing, the race is usually the frustum of a very flat cone, the rollers being frusta of the complementary cone.
  • noun A narrow passage, fenced with hurdles, for sheep; a lane.


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

[French, from Old French, from Old Italian razza, race, lineage.]

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

[Middle English ras, from Old Norse rās, rush, running; see ers- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French, from Latin radix

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle French race, from Italian razza, of uncertain origin.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English, from Old Norse rás, akin to Old English rǣs, compare Danish ræs, Norwegian and Swedish ras.


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  • "Of race but with taste!"

    ("of race" is supposed to mean "hurriedly")

    August 8, 2008

  • "Polls suggest the six closest state races on election day will be in Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio.

    Mr Obama has warned against complacency and urged Democratic supporters to vote."

    - 'US rivals target knife-edge races', BBC website, 2 Nov 2008.

    November 3, 2008