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[muh-lat-oh, -lah-toh, myoo-] /məˈlæt oʊ, -ˈlɑ toʊ, myu-/
noun, plural mulattoes, mulattos.
Anthropology. (not in technical use) the offspring of one white parent and one black parent.
Older Use: Often Offensive. a person who has both black and white ancestors.
of a light-brown color.
Origin of mulatto
1585-95; < Spanish mulato ‘young mule’, equivalent to mul(o) mule1 + -ato of unclear origin Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mulatto
Historical Examples
  • In North America a mulatto, a quadroon, even an octoroon who is only one-eighth black, counts as a negro.

  • The colour is between olive, brown, and bronze,—somewhat like that of the mulatto.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • Ranaway, the mulatto wench Mary—has a cut on the left arm, a scar on the shoulder, and two upper teeth missing.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 3 of 4 American Anti-Slavery Society
  • A mulatto, educated in the North, who had gone to help at Port Royal.

  • Jose Ibarra, a mulatto, had killed seventeen people before he was hanged at the age of seventeen.

  • Miss Faulkner was still absent, the mulatto had apparently gone home.

    Clarence Bret Harte
  • He, therefore, told him of his late interview with Miss Faulkner, and her probable withdrawal in favor of a mulatto neighbor.

    Clarence Bret Harte
  • The mulatto was willing, but the stream was too shallow for my keel.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • Upon the careers of these black persons he has supported his theories as to the superiority of the mulatto.

  • He was altogether less distinguished-looking than his comrade the mulatto.

    The White Chief Mayne Reid
British Dictionary definitions for mulatto


noun (pl) -tos, -toes
a person having one Black and one White parent
of a light brown colour
Word Origin
C16: from Spanish mulato young mule, variant of mulomule1
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 mulatto

1590s, "offspring of a European and a black African," from Spanish or Portuguese mulato "of mixed breed," literally "young mule," from mulo "mule," from Latin mulus (fem. mula) "mule" (see mule (n.1)); possibly in reference to hybrid origin of mules. As an adjective from 1670s. Fem. mulatta is attested from 1620s; mulattress from 1805.

American culture, even in its most rigidly segregated precincts, is patently and irrevocably composite. It is, regardless of all the hysterical protestations of those who would have it otherwise, incontestibly mulatto. Indeed, for all their traditional antagonisms and obvious differences, the so-called black and so-called white people of the United States resemble nobody else in the world so much as they resemble each other. [Albert Murray, "The Omni-Americans: Black Experience & American Culture," 1970]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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