Denotation vs. Connotation


[in-juh n] /ˈɪn dʒən/
noun, Older Use: Often Offensive.
an American Indian.
Origin of Injun
1805-15; variant of Indian, with assibilated d; cf. Cajun
Usage note
Injun is an informal, nonstandard spelling of Indian. See also honest Injun. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Injun
Historical Examples
  • One of the pickets has just come in, and he says, sir, that every blamed Injun is up in the north woods.

    The Shadow of Victory Myrtle Reed
  • "Injun's on top," he diagnosed sententiously after a minute.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • "Tame Injun," Injun said solemnly, which was as near a joke as he ever came in the years Whitey knew him.

  • “Heap big Injun chief,” announced Bobby, prancing about in his suit.

  • But New Mexico's that full of horse thieves and Injun skunks that an honest man can't live.

    Indian and Scout F. S. Brereton
  • He made a business of shootin' 'em on sight—a reg'lar Injun stalker!

  • He said ole Major Grumpy was tearin is hair like a wild Injun at th railroad unions.

    Roy Blakeley's Motor Caravan Percy Keese Fitzhugh
  • "Why, this is what they call Injun picture writing," replied Red, obligingly.

    Pathfinder Alan Douglas
  • He was carryin' the Injun fixin's and laffin'; laffin', why you'd think hit wus the bigges' frolik in the world.

    Watch Yourself Go By Al. G. Field
  • If you live like Injun, no worry 'bout food, go out shoot 'em.

    The Forbidden Trail Honor Willsie
British Dictionary definitions for Injun


(US) an informal or dialect word for (American) Indian
(interjection) (slang) honest Injun, genuinely; really
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 Injun

1812 (from 1683 as Ingin), spelling representing American English colloquial pronunciation of Indian (q.v.). Honest Injun as an asseveration of truthfuless first recorded 1868, from the notion of assurance extracted from Indians of their lack of duplicity.

"Honest Injun?" inquired Mr. Wilder, using a Western phrase equivalent to demanding of the narrator of a story whether he is strictly adhering to the truth. ["The Genial Showman," London, 1870]
The term honest Indian is attested from 1676.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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