Love words? Sign up for our Word of the Day!
c.1600, from French créole (17c.), from Spanish criollo "person native to a locality," from Portuguese crioulo, diminutive of cria "person (especially a servant) raised in one's house," from criar "to raise or bring up," from Latin creare "to produce, create" (see create).
The exact sense varies with local use. Originally with no connotation of color or race; Fowler (1926) writes: "Creole does not imply mixture of race, but denotes a person either of European or (now rarely) of negro descent born and naturalized in certain West Indian and American countries." In U.S. use, applied to descendants of French and Spanish settlers in Louisiana from at least 1792. Of languages, from 1879. As an adjective, from 1748.