ethnic vs ethnical what difference

what is difference between ethnic and ethnical


Alternative forms

  • ethnick (obsolete)


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/


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.
  2. Characteristic of a foreign or a minority group’s culture.
  3. Representative of a folk or traditional mode of expression.
    • 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.


  • (culturally foreign): exotic
  • (heathen): pagan, gentile

Derived terms

Related terms



ethnic (plural ethnics)

  1. An ethnic person, especially a foreigner or member of an immigrant community.
  2. An ethnic minority. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  3. (archaic) A heathen, a pagan.
    • ..for the learned know that even in St. Jerome’s time, the consul of Rome and his wife were both Ethnics, and about the same time the greatest part of the senate also…
    • 1641. John Milton. Of Reformation in England.
      …And the people of God, redeemed and washed with Christ’s blood, and dignified with so many glorious titles of saints and sons in the Gospel, are now no better reputed than impure ethnics and lay dogs…
  4. (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

  • ethnic in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • ethnic in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • “ethnic” in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 119.


  • Itchen, techni-



ethnical (not comparable)

  1. (rare) Ethnic.
  2. Of or relating to ethnology.


  • cathelin, chainlet, chat line, chatline

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