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ethnic group

n. A group of people who identify with one another, especially on the basis of national, cultural, or religious grounds.

ethnic group

n. people of the same race or nationality who share a distinctive culture [syn: ethnos]

Ethnic group

An ethnic group or ethnicity is a category of people who identify with each other based on common language, ancestral, social, cultural, or national experiences. Unlike most other social groups, ethnicity is primarily an inherited status. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art, and physical appearance.

Ethnic groups, derived from the same historical founder population, often continue to speak related languages and share a similar gene pool, and may be grouped as ethno-linguistic groups (e.g. Iranian peoples, Slavic peoples, Bantu peoples, Turkic peoples, Austronesian peoples, Nilotic peoples, etc.) By way of language shift, acculturation, adoption and religious conversion, it is possible for some individuals or groups to leave one ethnic group and become part of another (except for ethnic groups emphasizing racial purity as a key membership criterion).

Ethnicity is often used synonymously with ambiguous terms such as nation or people. In English, it can also have the connotation of something exotic (cf. " White ethnic", "ethnic restaurant", etc.).

Depending on which source of group identity is emphasized to define membership, the following types of (often mutually overlapping) groups can be identified:

  • Ethno-linguistic, emphasizing shared language, dialect or script — example: Gaels
  • Ethno-national, emphasizing a shared polity or sense of national identity — example: Iraqis
  • Ethno-racial, emphasizing shared physical appearance based on genetic origins — example: Afro-Brazilians
  • Ethno-regional, emphasizing a distinct local sense of belonging stemming from relative geographic isolation — example: South Islanders
  • Ethno-religious, emphasizing shared affiliation with a particular religion, denomination or sect — example: Sikhs

In many cases – for instance, the sense of Jewish peoplehood – more than one aspect determines membership.

The largest ethnic groups in modern times comprise hundreds of millions of individuals ( Han Chinese being the largest), while the smallest are limited to a few dozen individuals (numerous indigenous peoples worldwide). Larger ethnic groups may be subdivided into smaller sub-groups known variously as tribes or clans, which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves due to endogamy or physical isolation from the parent group. Conversely, formerly separate ethnicities can merge to form a pan-ethnicity, and may eventually merge into one single ethnicity. Whether through division or amalgamation, the formation of a separate ethnic identity is referred to as ethnogenesis.

Usage examples of "ethnic group".

In other words, unless you belong to some abhorred race, religion, social class, or ethnic group, you’.

Since he had domination over his ethnic group, did he plan to dominate the entire City through Amalda?

We can be born into an abusive family or a reviled ethnic group, or start out with some deformity.

In the part of a federal equal-opportunity form where Randy would simply check a box labeled CAUCASIAN, Kia would have to attach multiple sheets on which her family tree would be ramified backwards through time ten or twelve generations until reaching ancestors who could actually be pegged to one specific ethnic group without glossing anything over, and those ethnic groups would be intimidatingly hip ones--not Swedes, let's say, but Lapps, and not Chinese but Hakka, and not Spanish but Basque.

He paws at his own cheeks suggestively, unable to peg Hiro's ethnic group.

He made it clear nobody was any good, everybody was wrong, and he was quick to blame his problems on one ethnic group or another.

The Remillards are members of that New England ethnic group, descended from French-Canadians, who are variously called Franco-American, Canado-AmIricaine, or more simply Canuck.

During his time in the streets of Pudong, he had seen enough of theArmy (as they called themselves, for some reason) to knowthey did, in fact, constitute a new ethnic group of sorts, and thatwas their undisputed leader.

He had not noticed, before, the sheer maddening profusion of the place, each person seemingly an ethnic group of one, each with his or her own costume, dialect, sect, and pedigree.

This is not a psychological judgment about an ethnic group - it is an all points bulletin: Warning!

Among other jobs, your boys keep tabs on every ethnic group that might serve as a cover for introducing foreign agents into the U.