/air"ee euhn, air"yeuhn, ar"-/, n.1. Ethnol. a member or descendant of the prehistoric people who spoke Indo-European.2. (in Nazi doctrine) a non-Jewish Caucasian, esp. of Nordic stock.3. (formerly) Indo-European.4. (formerly) Indo-Iranian.adj.5. of or pertaining to an Aryan or the Aryans.6. (formerly) Indo-European.7. (formerly) Indo-Iranian.Also, Arian.[1785-95; < Skt arya of high rank (adj.), aristocrat (n.) + -AN]
* * *Prehistoric people who settled in Iran and northern India.From their language, also called Aryan, the Indo-European languages of South Asia are descended. In the 19th century there arose a notion, propagated by the count de Gobineau and later by his disciple Houston Stewart Chamberlain, of an "Aryan race": people who spoke Indo-European, especially Germanic, languages and lived in northern Europe. The "Aryan race" was considered to be superior to all other peoples. Although this notion was repudiated by numerous scholars, including Franz Boas, the notion was seized on by Adolf Hitler and made the basis of the Nazi policy of exterminating Jews, Gypsies (Roma), and other "non-Aryans." See also racism.
* * *▪ people(from Sanskrit ārya, “noble”), a people who in prehistoric times settled in what are now Iran and northern India. From their language, also called Aryan, the Indo-European languages of South Asia are descended. In the 19th century the term was used as a synonym for “Indo-European” and also, more restrictively, to refer to the Indo-Iranian languages. It is now used in linguistics only in the sense of the term Indo-Aryan languages.During the 19th century there arose a notion—propagated most assiduously by the Comte de Gobineau (Gobineau, Joseph-Arthur, comte de) and later by his disciple Houston Stewart Chamberlain (Chamberlain, Houston Stewart)—of an “Aryan race.” Members of the so-called race spoke Indo-European languages, were credited with all of the progress that benefited humanity, and were purported to be superior to “Semites (anti-Semitism),” “yellows,” and “blacks (racism).” Believers in Aryanism came to regard the Nordic and Germanic peoples as the purest members of the “race.” This notion, which had been repudiated by anthropologists by the second quarter of the 20th century, was seized upon by Adolf Hitler (Hitler, Adolf) and the Nazis (National Socialism) and was made the basis of the German government policy of exterminating Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and other “non-Aryans.”In the late 20th and early 21st centuries many white supremacist groups adopted the name Aryan as a label for their ideology. Because of this usage and its association with Nazism, the term has a pejorative meaning. See white supremacy.
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