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Aryan

[air-ee-uh n, air-yuh n, ar-] /ˈɛər i ən, ˈɛər yən, ˈær-/
noun
1.
Ethnology. a member or descendant of the prehistoric people who spoke Indo-European.
2.
(in Nazi doctrine) a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially of Nordic stock.
3.
(formerly) Indo-European.
4.
(formerly) Indo-Iranian.
adjective
5.
of or pertaining to an Aryan or the Aryans.
6.
(formerly) Indo-European.
7.
(formerly) Indo-Iranian.
Also, Arian.
Origin
1785-1795
1785-95; < Sanskrit ārya of high rank (adj.), aristocrat (noun) + -an
Related forms
non-Aryan, noun, adjective
pre-Aryan, adjective
pseudo-Aryan, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Aryan

Aryan

/ˈɛərɪən/
noun
1.
(in Nazi ideology) a Caucasian of non-Jewish descent, esp of the Nordic type
2.
a member of any of the peoples supposedly descended from the Indo-Europeans, esp a speaker of an Iranian or Indic language in ancient times
adjective
3.
of, relating to, or characteristic of an Aryan or Aryans
adjective, noun
4.
(archaic) Indo-European
Word Origin
C19: from Sanskrit ārya of noble birth
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Aryan
Aryan
c.1600, as a term in classical history, from L. Arianus, Ariana, from Gk. Aria, Areia, names applied in classical times to the eastern part of ancient Persia and to its inhabitants. Ancient Persians used the name in ref. to themselves (O.Pers. ariya-), hence Iran. Ult. from Skt. arya- "compatriot;" in later language "noble, of good family." Also the name Sanskrit-speaking invaders of India gave themselves in the ancient texts, from which early 19c. European philologists (Friedrich Schlegel, 1819, who linked the word with Ger. Ehre "honor") applied it to the ancient people we now call Indo-Europeans (suspecting that this is what they called themselves); this use is attested in Eng. from 1851. The term fell into the hands of racists, and in Ger. from 1845 it was specifically contrasted to Semitic (Lassen). Ger. philologist Max Müller (1823-1900) popularized the term in his writings on comparative linguistics, recommending it as the name (replacing Indo-European, Indo-Germanic, Caucasian, Japhetic) for the group of related, inflected languages connected with these peoples, mostly found in Europe but also including Sanskrit and Persian. Arian was used in this sense from 1839 (and is more philologically correct), but this spelling caused confusion with Arian, the term in ecclesiastical history. Gradually replaced in comparative linguistics c.1900 by Indo-European, except when used to distinguish I.E. languages of India from non-I.E. ones. Used in Nazi ideology to mean "member of a Caucasian Gentile race of Nordic type." As an ethnic designation, however, it is properly limited to Indo-Iranians (most justly to the latter) and has fallen from general academic use since the Nazi era.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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