List of ethnic slurs

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The following is a list of ethnic slurs (ethnophaulisms) that are, or have been, used as insinuations or allegations about members of a given ethnicity or to refer to them in a derogatory (critical or disrespectful), pejorative (disapproving or contemptuous), or insulting manner in the English-speaking world. For the purposes of this list, an ethnic slur is a term designed to insult others on the basis of race, ethnicity, or nationality. Each term is listed followed by its country or region of usage, a definition, and a reference to that term.

However the complexity of the issue of the listing and usage of such terms needs to be noted. For instance, many of the terms listed below (such as "Gringo", "Yank", etc.) are used by large numbers of human beings in many parts of the world as part of their ordinary speech or thinking without any intention of causing offence, and with little or no evidence that such usage does in fact cause much or indeed any offence, while the implicit or explicit labeling of such large numbers of people as racists (or similar terms such as prejudiced, bigoted, ethnophobic, xenophobic, etc.), simply because they use some words on the list below, can itself be deeply unfair and insensitive and can thus cause deep offence.

Ethnic slurs may also be produced by combining a general-purpose insult with the name of ethnicity, such as "dirty Jew", "Russian pig", etc. Other common insulting modifiers include "dog", "filthy", etc. Such terms are not included in this list.

A

Abbie, Abe, and Abie
(North America) a Jewish male. From the proper name Abraham. Originated before the 1950s.[1]
ABC
(East Asia) American-born Chinese, Han or other Chinese (including Taiwanese) born and raised in the United States. While not always pejorative, the term implies an otherness or lack of connection to their Chinese identity and (usually) Chinese language(s).[2]
ABCD
(South Asians in the US) American-Born Confused Desi, Indian Americans, Pakistani Americans or other South Asians, (desi) who were born in the United States. Used chiefly by South Asian immigrants to imply confusion about cultural identity.[3]
Abo/Abbo
(AUS) Australian Aboriginal person. Originally, this was simply an informal term for Aborigine, and was in fact used by Aboriginal people themselves until it started to be considered offensive in the 1950s. In remoter areas, Aboriginal people still often refer to themselves (quite neutrally) as Blackfellas (and whites as Whitefellas). Although Abo is still considered quite offensive by many, the pejorative boong is now more commonly used when the intent is deliberately to offend, as that word's status as an insult is unequivocal.[4]
Alligator bait
(US) also Gator Bait. A black person, especially a black child. More commonly used in states where alligators are found, particularly Florida. First used in the early 20th century, although some hypothesize the term originated in the late 19th century.[5]
Ann
(North America) a white woman to a black person—or a black woman who acts too much like a white one. While Miss Ann, also just plain Ann, is a derisive reference to the white woman, by extension it is applied to any black woman who puts on airs and tries to act like Miss Ann.[6]
Ape
(US) a black person.[7]
Apple
(North America) an American Indian (Native American) who is "red on the outside, white on the inside." Used primarily by other American Indians to indicate someone who has lost touch with their cultural identity. First used in the 1970s.[8]
Arabush (ערבוש)
(Israel) Arabs, derived from Hebrew "Aravi" (Arab) which is itself inoffensive.[9]
Aunt Jemima / Aunt Jane / Aunt Mary / Aunt Sally
(US) a black woman who "kisses up" to whites, a "sellout," female counterpart of Uncle Tom.[10]

B

Banana
(North America; UK; Malaysia) an Asian person living in a Western country (e.g., an Asian American) who is yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Used primarily by Asians to indicate someone who has lost touch with the cultural identity of his or her parents.[11]
Beaner / Beaney
(US) people of Mexican descent or, more specifically, mestizos of Central American descent.[12][13][14] The term originates from the use of frijoles pintos and other beans in Mexican food.[14][15]
Béni-oui-oui
Mostly used during the French colonization of Algeria as a derogatory term to describe Algerian Muslims.[16]
Bluegum
(US) an African-American perceived as being lazy and who refuses to work.[17]
Boche / bosche / bosch
(France; US; UK) a German (shortened from the French term caboche dure "hard head" or "stubborn").[18]
Boerehater / Boer-hater / Boer hater (South Africa; UK)
a person who hates, prejudices or criticises the Boers, or Afrikaners – historically applied to British people prejudiced against the Boers.[19][20][21]
Bog Irish
(UK, Ireland) a person of common or low-class Irish ancestry.[22][23]
Bohunk
(North America) a lower-class immigrant of Central European descent. Originally referred to those of Bohemian (now Czech Republic) descent. It was commonly used toward Central European immigrants during the early 20th century. Probably from Bohemian + a distortion of Hungarian.[24] See also hunky.
Boong / bong / bung
(Aus) Australian aboriginal.[25] Boong, pronounced with ʊ (like the vowel in bull), is related to the Australian English slang word bung, meaning "dead", "infected", or "dysfunctional". From bung, to go bung "Originally to die, then to break down, go bankrupt, cease to function [Ab. bong dead]".[26] First used in 1847 by J. D. Lang, Cooksland, 430.[26]
Boonga / boong / bunga / boonie
(New Zealand) a Pacific Islander [alteration of boong].[27]
Bootlip
an African American.[28]
Bounty bar
A racially-black person who is considered to be behaving like a white person.[29]
Brownie
a. (US) a person of mixed white and black ancestry; a mulatto.
b. (US) a young, brown-skinned person 1940s–1950s.[30]
Buddhahead
(US) an Asian.[31] Also used by mainland Japanese Americans to refer to Hawaiian Japanese Americans since World War II.[32]
Bule
(Indonesian) a foreigner, particularly Caucasians. Means Albino; sometimes used in pejorative manner.[33]
Buffie
a. a black person.[34]
b. (US) a young, brown-skinned person 1940s–1950s.[30]
Burrhead / Burr-head / Burr head
(US) a black person (referencing stereotypical hair type).[35]

C

Camel Jockey
people of Middle Eastern descent.[36]
Charlie
a. (African-American, 1960s-1970s) white people as a reified collective oppressor group, similar to The Man or The System.[37]
b. (Vietnam War military slang) Slang term used by American troops as a shorthand term for Vietnamese guerrillas. Derived from the verbal shorthand for "Victor Charlie", the NATO phonetic alphabet for VC, the abbreviation for Viet Cong.[38] Other references to the Viet Cong included "Mr. Charles" as a rueful admission of the skill at asymmetric warfare.[39]
Chee-chee, Chi-chi
an Anglo-Indian or Eurasian half-caste, probably from Hindi chi-chi fie!, literally, dirt.[40]
Cheesehead
people who are Dutch.[41] Hitler used this term as well.[42]
Cheese-eating surrender monkey
(UK, USA) a Frenchman, from the defeat of the French against the German in 1940, and the huge variety of cheeses originating from France. Gained popularity after the term was used on an episode of The Simpsons.[43]
Ching Chong
(US, Canada, UK) mocking the language of or a person of perceived Chinese or East Asian descent. An offensive term that has raised considerable controversy, for example when used by comedian Rosie O'Donnell.[44] (Some Chinese languages/dialects are tonal languages.)
Chinaman
found offensive, although it is a translation of the Chinese 中國人. It was used in the gold rush and railway-construction eras in western North America, when discrimination against Chinese was common.[45]
Chink
(US, UK) people of Chinese or East Asian descent.[46][47]
Chonky, Chunky
refers to a person of Chinese heritage with white attributes, in either personality or appearance.[48][49]
Christ killer
a Jew, an allusion to Jewish deicide.
Cholo
Used in Latin America[50] and the Southwestern United States[51][52] to refer to people of perceived Mestizo descent, especially teenagers and young people in the lowrider subculture.[50] It may be derogatory depending on circumstances.[51][53]
Chug
(Canada) refers to an individual of aboriginal descent.[54] See Chugach for the native people.
Coconut
(US) a person of Hispanic descent who is accused of acting "white".[55]
(US/SA) a black person who is accused of "trying to be white".[56][57]
(UK) a brown person of South Asian descent who has assimilated into Western culture.[58][59][60]
(New Zealand/Australia) a Pacific Islander. Named after the coconut, the nut from the coconut palm; in the American sense, it derives from the fact that a coconut is brown on the outside and white on the inside (see also "Oreo" below).[61]
Coolie
(North America) unskilled Asian labor, usually Chinese (originally used in 19th-century for Chinese railroad labor). Possibly from Hindi kuli, day laborer.[62] Also racial epithet for Indo-Caribbean people, especially in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and South African Indians.
Coon
(US, UK and Australia) a black person. Possibly from Portuguese barracão, a building constructed to hold slaves for sale (1837).[63][64] Popularized by the song "Zip Coon", played at Minstrel shows in the 1830s.
Coonass, or Coon-ass
(US) a person of Cajun ethnicity.[65]
Cracker
(US) a poor Appalachian or poor Southerner, a white person, first used in the 19th century.[66] It is sometimes used specifically to refer to a native of Florida or Georgia, sometimes positively or self-descriptively.[67] Also used in a more general sense in North America to refer to white people disparagingly.
Crow
a black person,[68] especially a black woman.
Curry-muncher
(Australia, Africa, New Zealand, North America) a person of East Indian origin.[69]
Cushi, also spelled Kushi (כושי)
Term originating from the Hebrew Bible, generally used to refer to a dark skinned person usually of African descent. Originally merely descriptive, in present day Israel it increasingly assumed a pejorative connotation and is regarded as insulting by Ethiopian Israelis and by African migrant workers and asylum seekers in Israel.[70]

D

Dago, Dego
a. (UK and Commonwealth) refers to Italians, Spaniards, or Portuguese, possibly derived from the Spanish name, "Diego,"[71] a corruption of the title Hidalgo (member of the Gentry, from Spanish > hijo de algo "son of someone [important]", its Portuguese cognate fidalgo (filho de algo), or the Sardinian language first person pronoun, dego).
b. (US) An Italian or person of Italian descent.[72]
Darky / darkey / darkie
noun. a black person. [73] See also Minstrel show.
Dink
an Asian, esp. a Vietnamese person. Also used as a disparaging term for a North Vietnamese soldier or guerrilla in the Vietnam War. Origin: 1965–70, Americanism[74]
Dogan, dogun
(CAN) Irish Catholic [19th century on; origin uncertain: perhaps from Dugan, an Irish surname].[75]
Dothead
derogatory term for Indians, from the Hindu practice of bindi (decoration)[citation needed]
Dune coon
(US) an Arab.[76] By analogy with sand nigger, below.

E

Eight ball
a black person; slang, usually used disparagingly[77]
Eyetie
(British) an Italian person; slang, usually used disparagingly (especially during World War II). Originated through the mispronunciation of "Italian" as "Eye-talian."[78]

F

Flip
(United States) ethnic slur applied to Filipinos.[79]
Fritz
(UK, France, Hungary ("fricc"), Poland [Fryc], Russia [фриц] ) a German [from Friedrich (Frederick)].[80]
Frog
(Canada, UK and US) a French person. Prior to 19th century, referred to the Dutch (as they were stereotyped as being marsh-dwellers). When France became Britain's main enemy, replacing the Dutch, the epithet was transferred to them,[81][82] because of the French penchant for eating frogs' legs (see comparable French term Rosbif). Also used in Canada to refer to both the French and French Canadians, and occasionally incorrectly as more broadly to people from Quebec who are not, in fact, necessarily French or French-speaking.[83]
Fuzzy-Wuzzy
(UK) colonialist term used to refer to the Hadendoa warriors in the 19th Century. Not applicable in Australia, see Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

G

Gable
a black person.[34][84]
Gaijin
(JP) a term for any non-Japanese person. Shortened form of Gaikokujin (person from another country).
Gin
(AUS) an Aboriginal woman.[85]
Gin jockey
(AUS) a white person having casual sex with an Aboriginal woman. Pejorative. See also gin burglar[86]
Golliwog
A predominately UK expression which originally was a children's literature character and type of black doll but which eventually became to be used as a jibe against people with dark skin, most commonly Afro-Caribbeans.[87]
Gook-eye, Gooky, Gook
Asians, used especially for enemy soldiers.[88] Its use has been traced to US Marines serving in the Philippines in the early 20th century.[88][89] The earliest recorded example is dated 1920.[90] It gained widespread notice as a result of the Korean and Vietnam wars.[88]
Gora
(India) a white person[91]
Goy, Goyim, Goyum
A Hebrew biblical term for "Nation" or "People".[92] By Roman times it had also acquired the meaning of "non-Jew". In English, usage may be controversial, it can be assigned pejoratively to non-Jews.[93][94][95]
Greaseball, Greaser
A person of Italian descent.[96] It can also refer to any person of Mediterranean / Southern European descent or Hispanic descent.
Gringo
A White person from an English-speaking country. Used in Spanish-speaking regions - chiefly Latin America, but sometimes used by Latino Americans. Also used in Portuguese-speaking Brazil. Likely from the Spanish word "griego", meaning Greek. The use of the term Greek for something foreign or unintelligible is also seen in the similar expression "it's Greek to me".)[97][98]
Groid
(US) A black person. Derived from "negroid".[99]
Gub, Gubba
(AUS) Aboriginal term for white people[100]
Guizi (鬼子)
(used in Mainland China and Taiwan) Foreigners. Basically the same meaning as the term Gweilo used in Hong Kong. More often used when referring foreigners as military enemies, such as Riben Guizi (日本鬼子, Japanese devils, because of Second Sino-Japanese War), Meiguo Guizi (美国鬼子, American devils, because of Korean War).
Guido
(US) An Italian-American male. Derives from the Italian given name, Guido. Used mostly in the Northeastern United States as a stereotype for working-class urban Italian-Americans.[101] A female equivalent may be guidette.[102]
Guinea, Ginzo
A person of Italian birth or descent. Most likely derived from "Guinea Negro," implying that Italians are dark or swarthy-skinned like the natives of Guinea. The diminutive "Ginzo" probably dates back to World War II and is derived from Australian slang picked up by US servicemen in the Pacific Theater.[103]
Gweilo, gwailo, or kwai lo (鬼佬)
(used in South of Mainland China and Hong Kong) A White man. Loosely translated as "foreign devil"; more literally, might be "ghost dude/bloke/guy/etc." Gwei means "ghost". The color white is associated with ghosts in China. A lo is a regular guy (i.e. a fellow, a chap, or a bloke).[104] Once a mark of xenophobia, the word is now in general, informal use.
Gyppo, gippo, gypo, gyppie, gyppy, gipp
a. A Romani people.
b. (UK and Australia) Egyptians.[105] These are variations of "Gypsy", the most common word in English for people of Romani origin. "Gypsy" is not in itself an ethnic slur but its usage is sometimes controversial.

H

Hairyback
(South Africa) a term for Afrikaners[106]
Hajji, Hadji, Haji
(US) Used to refer to Iraqis, Arabs, Afghans, or Middle Eastern and South Asian people in general. Derived from the honorific Al-Hajji, the title given to a Muslim who has completed the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).[107]
Half-breed
Anyone who is mixed race, such as of Native American (especially North American) and white European parentage. Métis is a French term for a half-breed, and mestizo is the equivalent in Spanish, although these are not offensive per se.
Haole
(US, Hawaiian) A non-native, used by Hawaiians mainly to refer to whites (less commonly to refer to non-Hawaiians). Can be used neutrally, dependent on context.[108]
Heeb, Hebe
(US) a Jewish person, derived from the word "Hebrew".[109][110]
Hillbilly
(US) term for Americans of Appalachian or Ozark heritage.[111]
Honky also spelled "honkey" or "honkie"
(US) a white person. Derived from an African-American pronunciation of "hunky", the disparaging term for a Hungarian laborer. The first record of its use as an insulting term for a white person dates from the 1950s.[112]
Hori
(New Zealand), an offensive term for a Māori (from the formerly common Maorified version of the English name George).[113]
Hun
a. (US and UK) Germans, especially German soldiers; popular during World War I.[114] Derived from a speech given by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany to the German contingent sent to China during the Boxer Rebellion in which he exhorted them to "be like Huns" (i.e., savage and ruthless) to their Chinese enemy.
b. An offensive term for a Protestant in Northern Ireland or historically, a member of the British military in Ireland ("Britannia's huns").[115][116][117]
Hymie
(US) a Jewish person, derived from the personal name Hyman (from the Hebrew name Chayyim). Jesse Jackson provoked controversy by referring to New York City as "Hymietown" in 1984.[118]

I

Ikey / ike / iky
a Jew [from Isaac][119]
Ikey-mo / ikeymo
a Jew [from Isaac and Moses][120]
Indon
an Indonesia. Used mostly in Malaysia and Singapore.[121]
Injun
a Native American, corrupted "Indian".[122]

J

"Jungle bunny" redirects here. For literal rabbits living in a rainforest, see Sumatran Striped Rabbit.
Jap
(US, especially during World War II) a Japanese soldier or national, or anyone of Japanese descent. Post WW2, it is also an acronym for “Jewish-American Princess.”
Japie, yarpie
a white, rural South African [from plaasjapie, "farm boy"][123]
Jerry
(Commonwealth, especially during World War II): a. a German national.
b. a German soldier [Probably an alteration of German].[124] Origin of Jerry can.
Jigaboo, jiggabo, jigarooni, jijjiboo, zigabo, jig, jigg, jigga, jigger
(US and UK)[125] term for a black person with stereotypical black features (e.g. dark skin, wide nose, and big lips).[126] Jiggaboo or jigabo is from a Bantu verb tshikabo, meaning meek or servile.[127]
Jock, jocky, jockie
(UK) a Scottish person, Scots language nickname for the personal name John, cognate to the English, Jack. Occasionally used as an insult,[128] but also in respectful reference to élite Scottish, particularly Highland troops, e.g. the 9th (Scottish) Division. Same vein as the English insult for the French, as Frogs. In Ian Rankin's detective novel "Tooth & Nail" the protagonist - a Scottish detective loaned to the London police - suffers from prejudice by English colleagues who frequently use "Jock" and "Jockland" (Scotland) as terms of insult; the book was based on the author's own experience as a Scot living in London.
Jungle bunny
(US and UK) a black person.[129]

K

Kaffir, kaffer, kaffir, kafir, kaffre, kuffar
a. (South Africa) a black person.
b. also caffer or caffre: a non-Muslim.
c. a member of a people inhabiting the Hindu Kush mountains of north-east Afghanistan. Origin is from the Arab word kafir meaning infidel used in the early Arab Zanzibarian trading posts on the Indian Ocean coast in Africa to refer to the non-Islamic black people living in the interior of Africa. The term is still used as a pejorative by some Muslims, particularly Islamists in such a context. The term passed into modern usage through the British because on early European maps Southern Africa was called by cartographers Cafreria (the name derived from the Arab word "kafir") and later Kaffraria. Thus the British used the term "kaffirs" to refer to the mixed groupings of people displaced by Shaka when he organized the Zulu nation. These groups (consisting of Mzilikaze, Matiwani, Mantatisi, Flingoe, Khoikhoi, and Xhosa peoples inhabited the region from the Cape of Good Hope to the Limpopo river) fought the British in the Kaffir Wars 1846–1848, 1850–1852, and 1877–1878.)[130][131] See also Kaffir (Historical usage in southern Africa)
Kike or kyke
(US) Ashkenazi Jews. From kikel, Yiddish for "circle". Illiterate immigrant Jews signed legal documents with an "O" (similar to an "X").[132]
Kraut (from Sauerkraut)
(North America and Commonwealth) US and British term for a German,[133] most specifically during World War II.

L

Lebo
(AUS) A Lebanese person, usually a Lebanese Australian.
Limey
(US) a British person. Comes from the historical British naval practice of giving sailors limes to stave off scurvy.[134]
Lubra
an Australian Aboriginal woman.[135]
Lugan
a Lithuanian.[136][137]

M

Macaca
originally used by francophone colonialists in Central Africa's Belgian Congo to refer to the native population; use has expanded to other groups, including North Africans and Indians.
Mack, Mick, Mickey, Mickey Finn
a. (Britain, Commonwealth and US) an Irish person or a person of Irish descent. Mick is considered more offensive in the UK and US. From the prefix "Mc"/"Mac" meaning "son of" that is commonly found in Celtic surnames.
b. (Australia) a Roman Catholic [19th century on, from Mícheál].[138]
Malaun
(Bangladesh) Hindus.
Mau-Mau
Black person—especially a radical, revolutionary, or racially-activist one. Originally referred to Kenyans of the Kikuyu tribe involved in a ferocious insurgency against British colonialists in the 1950s.
Mulignan/Mulignon
Black person. The word is a corruption of melanzane, an Italian word for eggplant. Also called a mouli.[139][140]

N

Niglet
a young black person.[141]
Nig-nog
(UK) a black person.[142] – note alternative original mildly derogatory meaning in the UK: "a novice; a foolish or naive person"[143]
Nigger / Niger / nig / nigor / nigra / nigre (Caribbean) / nigar / niggur / nigga / niggah / niggar / nigguh / niggress / nigette
(International) Black. From the Spanish and Portuguese word negro, derived from the Latin niger.
Nip
(US and UK) someone of Japanese descent (shortened version of Nipponese, from Japanese name for Japan, Nippon)[144]
Nitchie / neche / neechee / neejee / nichi / nichiwa / nidge / nitchee / nitchy
(CAN) a North American Indian [From the Algonquian word for "friend"].[145]
Northern Monkey
(UK) used in the south of England, relating to the supposed stupidity and lack of sophistication of those in the north of the country.[146] In some cases this has been adopted in the north of England, with a pub in Leeds even taking the name 'The Northern Monkey'.[147]
Nusayri
(Syria and the Levant) a member of the Alawite sect of Shi'a Islam. Once a common and neutral term derived from the name of Ibn Nusayr, the sect's founder, it fell out of favour within the community in the early decades of the 20th century due the perception that it implied a heretical separateness from mainstream Islam.[148] Resurgent in the context of the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the term is now often employed by Sunni fundamentalist enemies of the government of Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite, to suggest that the faith is a human invention lacking divine legitimacy.[149]

O

Ocker
(AUS and NZ) an uncultivated Australian.[150]
Oreo
(US) black on the outside and white on the inside, hinted by the appearance of an Oreo cookie.[151][152] Used as early as the 1960s.[153]

P

Paddy
(Primarily UK) an Irishman.[154] derived from Pádraig/Patrick/Patty. Often derogatory; however, Lord Edward FitzGerald, a major leader of the United Irishmen of 1798, proclaimed himself proudly "a Paddy and no more" and stated that "he desired no other title than this".
Pakeha

(New Zealand) a Maori term for a white person.

Paki
(United Kingdom) directed towards South Asians (and sometimes Middle Eastern people) (shortened from Pakistani).[155][156]
Pancake Face, Pancake
an Asian person[157]
Peckerwood
Used by southern African-Americans and upper-class whites to refer to poor rural whites.[158][159]
Pepper or Pepsi
(Canada) a French Canadian or Québécois.[160][161] Derived from the Anglo-Canadian jibe that their stereotypically bad dental hygiene was due to drinking Pepsi or Dr Pepper for breakfast.
Pickaninny
a black child, or a caricature of one.
Piefke
(Austria) a. a Prussian. (historically)
b. a German.
Pikey / piky / piker
(Britain) derived from "turnpike". a. Irish Traveller.
b. Gypsy.
c. an itinerant or vagrant lower-class or poor person. Sometimes used to refer to an Irish person [19th century on].[162]
Plastic Paddy
(Ireland) a non-Irish person who claims to be Irish.[163]
Pocho / pocha
(Southwest US, Mexico) adjective: term for a person of Mexican heritage who is partially or fully assimilated into American culture (literally, "diluted, watered down (drink); undersized (clothing)").[164] (See also "Chicano")
Polack
(Primarily US) a Pole or a person of Polish or Slavic origin,[165] from the Polish endonym, Polak (see Name of Poland). Note: the proper Swedish demonym for Polish people is polack[166] and the Norwegian equivalent is polakk.[167]
Pom, Pohm, Pommy, Pommie, Pommie Grant
(AUS/NZ/SA) a British (usually English) immigrant.
Porch monkey
a black person[168] referring to perceived common behavior of groups hanging out on front porches or steps of urban apartment complexes in US cities.
Prairie nigger
Native American[169]

Q

Quashie
(caribbean) a black person,[34] often gullible or unsophisticated.[170] From the West African name Kwazi, often given to a child born on a Sunday[84]

R

Raghead
Arabs, Indian Sikhs and some other peoples, for wearing traditional headdress such as turbans or keffiyehs.[171] Sometimes used generically for all Islamic nations. See Towel head.
Rastus
is a stereotypical term traditionally associated with African Americans in the United States.[172]
Razakars
(Bengali) akin to the western term Judas.[173]
Redlegs
(Barbados) the islands' laborer-class whites.
Redneck
(US) Southern laborer-class whites.[174] Not to be confused with rooinek (literally "red neck"), South African slang for a person of British descent.
Redskin
Native Americans, used in the names of several sports teams in the US.[175]
Roundeye
(English-speaking Asians) a white or non-Asian person.[176]

S

Sambo
(US) an African-American, black, or sometimes a South Asian person.[177]
Sand nigger, sand monkey
Arabs.[178][179]
Sawney
(England, archaic) a Scottish person, local variant of Sandy, short for "Alasdair".[180]
Scandihoovian
somewhat pejorative term for people of Scandinavia descent living in the USA, now often embraced by Scandinavian descendants.[91][181][182][183]
Seppo, Septic
(Australian/British) An American. (Cockney rhyming slang: Septic tankYank)[184]
Schvartse, Schwartze
Literally "black", a Yiddish or German term for someone of African descent.[185]
Sheeny
(US) a 19th-century term for an "untrustworthy Jew."[186]
Sheep shagger
(UK) a Welsh person.[187]
Shelta
(Ireland) the Travelling Folk. Derived from siúilta, which means "The Walkers" in Irish.
Shiksa (Yiddish)
a non-Jewish woman. Derived from the Hebrew root Shin-Qof-Tzadei (שקץ), meaning loathsome or abomination.[188] Most commonly used to refer to a non-Jewish woman who is dating or married to a Jewish man.[92]
Shine
(US) a black person (from shoeshiner).[189]
Shkutzim (Yiddish)
non-Jewish men, especially those perceived to be anti-Semitic. The singular is sheigetz.[92]
Sideways vagina/pussy/cooter
Asian women, particularly Chinese women.[190]
Skinny
(US) A term for Somali militia fighters[191]
Skip, Skippy
(Aus) a White Australian, alluding to Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, a once-popular Australian television show for children.[192]
Slant-eye, Slant
a person of Far Eastern origin (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese etc.) Derived from the term for those who have epicanthic folds[193]
Slope, slopehead, slopy, slopey, sloper
(US and Aus) a person of Asian (in Australia, especially Vietnamese; in America, especially Chinese) descent.[194]
Smoked Irish / smoked Irishman
(US) a 19th-century term for Blacks (intended to insult both Blacks and Irish).[34]
Sooty
a black person [originated in the US in the 1950s][195]
Spade
a black person, recorded since 1928 (OED), from the playing cards suit.[196]
Spearchucker
A term used for an African American, or other person of African descent.[197]
Spic, spick, spik, spig, or spigotty
a. (US) a person of Hispanic descent. First recorded use in 1915. Theories include from "no spik English" (and spiggoty from the Chicano no speak-o t'e English), but common belief is that it is an abbreviation of "Hispanic".
b. the Spanish language.[198]
Spook
a black person,[199] attested from the 1940s.[200]
Squarehead
a Caucasian person, esp. German. Refers to either the stereotyped shape of their heads, or to the shape of the Stahlhelm M1916 steel helmet,[201] or to its owner's stubbornness (like a block of wood).
Squaw
(US and CAN) a female Native American.[202] Derived from lower East Coast Algonquian (Massachuset: ussqua),[203] which originally meant "young woman", but which took on strong negative connotations in the late 20th century. (The equivalent derisive for a male is "buck", and for a child, "papoose".)
Squinty
a person of East Asian descent in reference to the appearance of the eyes, similar to "slant".[204]

T

Taffy or Taff
(UK) a Welsh person. First used ca. 17th century. From the River Taff or the Welsh pronunciation of the name David (in Welsh, Dafydd).[205]
Taig (also Teague, Teg and Teig)
used by loyalists in Northern Ireland for members of the nationalist/Catholic/Gaelic community. Derived the Irish name Tadhg, often mistransliterated as Timothy.[206][207]
Tar-Baby (UK, US, and NZ)
a black child.[208] Also used to refer without regard to race to a situation from which it is difficult to extricate oneself. See tar baby.
Teapot
(British) A black person. [19th century][209]
Teuchter
(Southern Scotland) somebody from the north of Scotland or rural Scottish areas.[210]
Thicklips
(UK) a black person.[34]
Timber nigger
Native Americans.[211]
Tinker / tynekere / tinkere / tynkere, -are / tynker / tenker / tinkar / tyncar / tinkard / tynkard / tincker
a. (Britain and Ireland) an inconsequential person (typically lower-class); (note that in Britain, the term "Irish Tinker" may be used, giving it the same meaning as example b.)
b. (Scotland and Ireland) a Gypsy [origin unknown – possibly relating to one of the 'traditional' occupations of Gypsies as travelling 'tinkerers' or repairers of common household objects][212]
c. (Scotland) a member of the native community previously itinerant (but mainly now settled) who were reputed for their production of domestic implements from basic materials and for repair of the same items, being also known in the past as "travelling tinsmiths", possibly derived from a reputation for rowdy and alcoholic recreation. Often confused with Gypsy/Romany people.
Towel head
a person who wears a turban. Often refers specifically to an Arab or Muslim—based on their habit of wearing keffiyehs.[213]
Touch of the tar brush
(British) derogatory descriptive phrase for a person of predominantly Caucasian ancestry with real or suspected African or Asian distant ancestry.[214]
Turk
(South Wales) Often used to describe a person from Llanelli. The origin of this is uncertain, some theories suggest it due to Llanelli's popularity with Turkish sailors in the late 19th to early 20th century or possibly when Turkish migrants heading for the US stopped in Llanelli and decided to settle due to there being jobs available, however most likely it's due to the fact that during World War One there was a trade embargo in place during Gallipoli, but Llanelli continued to trade tin with the Turkish, this lead to people from neighbouring Swansea and other surrounding areas to refer to them as Turks.[215]
Twinkie
(American Indian) a European American, with little or no social or blood links to any tribe, who claims to be an American Indian (Native American).[216] or an Asian American who has become completely integrated into White American, or mainstream American culture.[217]

U

Uncle Tom
a black person perceived as behaving in a subservient manner to white authority figures.[218]

W

Wetback
(US) an illegal immigrant into the United States. Originally applied specifically to Mexican migrant workers who had crossed the Rio Grande border river illegally to find work in the United States, its meaning has since broadened to anyone who illegally breaks into the United States across its southern border.[219]
Wigger / Whigger / Wigga (White Nigger)
(US) used in 19th-century United States to refer to the Irish. Sometimes used today in reference to white people in a manner similar to white trash or redneck. Also refers to white youth that imitate urban black youth by means of clothing style, mannerisms, and slang speech.[220] Also used by radical Québécois in self-reference, as in the seminal 1968 book White Niggers of America.
Whitey
a term for a Caucasian.[221]
Wog
(UK and Commonwealth) any swarthy or dark-skinned foreigner. Possibly derived from "golliwogg"[222] In Britain, it usually refers to dark skinned people from Asia or Africa, though some use the term to refer to anyone outside the borders of their own country. In Australia the term "wog" is usually used to refer to Southern Europeans (Albanians, Greeks, Italians, Spaniards and others).
Wop
(North America and UK) anyone of Italian descent, derived from the Italian dialectism, "guappo," close to "dude, swaggerer" and other informal appellations, a greeting among male Neapolitans.[223]


Y

Yank
a contraction of "Yankee" below, first recorded in 1778 and employed internationally by speakers of British English in informal reference to all Americans generally.[224]
Yarpie
see Japie.
Yellow
designating or pertaining to an Asian person, in reference to those who have a yellowish skin color.[225]
Yankee
from Dutch, possibly from Janke ("Johnny") or a dialectical variant of Jan Kaas ("John Cheese").[224] First applied by the Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam to Connecticuters and then to other residents of New England, "Yankee" remains in use in the American South in reference to Northerners, often in a mildly pejorative sense.
Yid
a Jew, from its use as an endonym among Yiddish-speaking Jews.[226]

Z

Zip, Zipperhead
an Asian person. Used by American military personnel during the Korean War and Vietnam War. Also seen in the films Platoon, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket, Premium Rush and Gran Torino.[227][228][229] The phrase "zips in the wire" from Platoon has also been used outside of this context. See also "Zip" in List of disability-related terms with negative connotations.

See also

References

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Further reading

  • Burchfield, Robert. "Dictionaries and Ethnic Sensibilities." In The State of the Language, ed. Leonard Michaels and Christopher Ricks, University of California Press, 1980, pp. 15–23.
  • Croom, Adam M. "Racial Epithets: What We Say And Mean By Them". Dialogue 51 (1):34-45 (2008)
  • Henderson, Anita. "What's in a Slur?" American Speech, Volume 78, Number 1, Spring 2003, pp. 52–74 in Project MUSE
  • Kennedy, Randall. Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (Pantheon, 2002)
  • Mencken, H. L. "Designations for Colored Folk." American Speech, 1944. 19: 161-74.
  • Wachal, Robert S. "Taboo and Not Taboo: That Is the Question." American Speech, 2002. v 77: 195-206.

Dictionaries

  • John A. Simpson, Oxford Dictionary Of Modern Slang ISBN 0-19-861052-1
  • John A. Simpson, Oxford English Dictionary Additions Series. ISBN 0-19-861299-0
  • Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (2002)
  • Richard A. Spears, Slang and Euphemism (2001)
  • Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Slang (1998)
  • Bruce Moore (editor), The Australian Oxford Dictionary (2004)
  • The New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition. Ed. Erin McKean (Oxford University Press, 2005)
  • The Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  • G. A. Wilkes, A Dictionary of Australian Colloquialisms (Sydney: Fontana/Collins, 1978). ISBN 0-00-635719-9