/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.
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]

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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.

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      (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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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Aryan — Ar yan ([aum]r yan or [a^]r [i^]*an), a. Of or pertaining to the people called Aryans; Indo European; Indo Germanic; as, the Aryan stock, the Aryan languages. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Aryan — ► NOUN 1) a member of a people speaking an Indo European language who spread into northern India in the 2nd millennium BC. 2) the language of this people. 3) (in Nazi ideology) a person of Caucasian race not of Jewish descent. ► ADJECTIVE ▪… …   English terms dictionary

  • Aryan — [ar′ē ən, er′ē ən] adj. [< Sans āzya , noble (used as tribal name to distinguish from indigenous races) > Avestan airya nam, IRAN1; ? akin to Gr aristos, best or Hittite arawa , free] 1. Obs. designating or of the Indo European language… …   English World dictionary

  • Aryan — Ar yan ([aum]r yan or [a^]r [i^]*an), n. [Skr. [=a]rya excellent, honorable; akin to the name of the country Iran, and perh. to Erin, Ireland, and the early name of this people, at least in Asia.] 1. One of a primitive people supposed to have… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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 reference to themselves… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Aryan — This article is about the English language loanword. For other uses, see Aryan (disambiguation). Aryan /ˈɛərjən/ is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya ( Noble )[1][2][ …   Wikipedia

  • Aryan — 1. noun /ˈɛɹ.i.ən/ a) A member of an (alleged) master race comprised of non Jewish Caucasians, especially those of Nordic or Germanic descent. This short sketch of the changes that take place among those races that are only the depositories of a… …   Wiktionary

  • Aryan — (Arya)    In the VEDAS, the earliest Indian texts, the SAN SKRIT word Arya had the sense of noble or worthy person. It was used by the tribes or peoples who recited the Vedas to distinguish themselves from other peoples. Sometimes, in early… …   Encyclopedia of Hinduism

  • Aryan — Ar•y•an [[t]ˈɛər i ən, yən, ˈær , ˈɑr yən[/t]] n. 1) a) peo a speaker of the languages ancestral to the Indo Aryan or the Indo Iranian languages b) peo (formerly) a speaker of Proto Indo European; an Indo European 2) peo (formerly) a) Indo Aryan… …   From formal English to slang

  • Aryan — Ar·y·an (âr’ē ən, ăr’ ) n. 1. Indo Iranian. 2. A member of the people who spoke the parent language of the Indo European languages. No longer in technical use. 3. A member of any people speaking an Indo European language. No longer in technical… …   Word Histories

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