Aryan(redirected from Aryans)
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Related to Aryans: Alexander the Great, dictionary, Kristallnacht, Dravidians, Harappan civilization, Indus Valley Civilization
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 use.
4. In Nazism and neo-Nazism, a non-Jewish Caucasian, especially one of Nordic type, supposed to be part of a master race.
[From Sanskrit ārya-, compatriot, ethnic self-designation of the Indo-Iranians of ancient India.]
Word History: When most English speakers hear the word Aryan, they probably think of it as referring primarily to northern Europeans in the context of the racist theories of European physical and mental superiority espoused by the Nazis. Originally, however, the word referred to the early Indo-Iranians—the Indo-European peoples who inhabited parts of what are now Iran, Afghanistan, and India. Their tribal self-designation was a word reconstructed as *arya- or *ārya-. The first of these is the form found in Iranian, as ultimately in the name of Iran itself (from Middle Persian Ērān [šahr], "[Land] of the Iranians," from the genitive plural of Ēr, "Iranian"). The variant *ārya- is found unchanged in Sanskrit, where it referred to the upper classes of ancient Indian society. These words became known to European scholars in the 18th century. In the 1830s, Friedrich Schlegel, a German scholar who was an important early Indo-Europeanist, came up with a theory that linked the Indo-Iranian words with the German word Ehre, "honor," and older Germanic names containing the element ario-, such as the Swiss warrior Ariovistus, who was written about by Julius Caesar. Schlegel theorized that far from being just a designation of the Indo-Iranians, the word *arya- had in fact been what the Indo-Europeans called themselves, meaning something like "the honorable people." This theory, however, has since been called into question. Nevertheless, Aryan came to be synonymous with Indo-European in the writings of many Indo-Europeanists, and in this sense the term entered the general scholarly consciousness of the day. Not much later, it was proposed that the original homeland of the Indo-Europeans had been in northern Europe. From this theory, it was but a small leap to think of the Aryans as having had a northern European physiotype. While these theories were being developed, certain anti-Semitic German scholars singled out the Jews as the main non-Aryan people in Germany because of their Semitic roots. A distinction thus arose in these scholars' minds between Jews and the "true Aryan" Germans, a distinction that later furnished fodder for the racial theories of the Nazis.
1. (Peoples) (in Nazi ideology) a Caucasian of non-Jewish descent, esp of the Nordic type
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) (in Nazi ideology) a Caucasian of non-Jewish descent, esp of the Nordic type
3. (Peoples) a member of any of the peoples supposedly descended from the Indo-Europeans, esp a speaker of an Iranian or Indic language in ancient times
4. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) of, relating to, or characteristic of an Aryan or Aryans
5. (Peoples) of, relating to, or characteristic of an Aryan or Aryans
6. (Languages) archaic Indo-European
7. (Peoples) archaic Indo-European
[C19: from Sanskrit ārya of noble birth]
Ar•y•an(ˈɛər i ən, -yən, ˈær-, ˈɑr yən)
a. a speaker of the languages ancestral to the Indo-Aryan or the Indo-Iranian languages.
b. (formerly) a speaker of Proto-Indo-European; an Indo-European.
3. (in Nazi doctrine) a non-Jewish Caucasian, esp. of Nordic stock.adj.
4. of or pertaining to an Aryan or the Aryans.
5. of or pertaining to Aryan as a language group.
[1785–95; < Skt ārya of high rank (adj.), noble (n.) + -an1]
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|Noun||1.||Aryan - (according to Nazi doctrine) a Caucasian person of Nordic descent (and not a Jew)|
|2.||Aryan - a member of the prehistoric people who spoke Proto-Indo European|
|Adj.||1.||Aryan - of or relating to the former Indo-European people; "Indo-European migrations"|