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African definition


This page has 3 definitions of African in English. African is an adjective and noun. Examples of how to use African in a sentence are shown. Also define these 4 related words and terms: Africa, black, negroid, and ethnologically.

See also: african and Afričan


Alternative forms


Attested as a noun in Old English as Africanas (Africans) (only plural). From Latin Africānae. In Middle English as Aufrican, early Modern English Aphricane, Africans. The adjective appears in the 16th century, as Affricane, Africane, African.

Latin Africus is from Afri (singular Afer), the name of an ancient people of North Africa (near Carthage, in modern Tunisia), with the suffix -icus. Africānus is formed by addition of the -ānus suffix.



African (comparative more African, superlative most African)

  1. Of or pertaining to Africa.
  2. Black; (dated) synonym of negroid.
    The truth is that I know the guy had African skin and a shirt of some sort.
    • 2013, Stem Cells—Advances in Research and Application: 2013 Edition, ScholarlyEditions (→ISBN), page 311:
      In vivo and in vitro approaches in understanding the differences between Caucasian and African skin types: []
    • For more quotations using this term, see Citations:African.
    • Negroid definition
      having negro features racially. Pertaining to the racial classification of humanity including people indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa and their diaspora in other parts of the world.


Derived terms



African (plural Africans)

  1. A native of Africa; also one ethnologically belonging to an African race.
    • 2007, African Immigrant Religions in America →ISBN:
      Africans constitute significantly growing populations not only in major urban centers such as New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and Atlanta but also in small and midsize cities in states such as Ohio and Maine.
    • 2019, Razib Khan, Arabia between Africa and Eurasia[1]:
      But new research suggests another possibility: all Africans may have ancestry from “West Eurasian” populations which moved back into Africa after the “Out of Africa” event ~50,000 years ago. []
    • Ethnologically definition
      In an ethnological manner or fashion.



Derived terms