race 1[reys] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for race on Thesaurus.com noun

  1. a contest of speed, as in running, riding, driving, or sailing.
  2. races, a series of races, usually of horses or dogs, run at a set time over a regular course: They spent a day at the races.
  3. any contest or competition, especially to achieve superiority: the arms race; the presidential race.
  4. urgent need, responsibility, effort, etc., as when time is short or a solution is imperative: the race to find an effective vaccine.
  5. onward movement; an onward or regular course.
  6. the course of time.
  7. the course of life or a part of life.
  8. Geology.
    1. a strong or rapid current of water, as in the sea or a river.
    2. the channel or bed of such a current or of any stream.
  9. an artificial channel leading water to or from a place where its energy is utilized.
  10. the current of water in such a channel.
  11. Also called raceway. Machinery. a channel, groove, or the like, for sliding or rolling a part or parts, as the balls of a ball bearing.
  12. Textiles.
    1. the float between adjacent rows of pile.
    2. race plate.

verb (used without object), raced, rac·ing.

  1. to engage in a contest of speed; run a race.
  2. to run horses or dogs in races; engage in or practice horse racing or dog racing.
  3. to run, move, or go swiftly.
  4. (of an engine, wheel, etc.) to run with undue or uncontrolled speed when the load is diminished without corresponding diminution of fuel, force, etc.

verb (used with object), raced, rac·ing.

  1. to run a race against; try to beat in a contest of speed: I’ll race you to the water.
  2. to enter (a horse, car, track team, or the like) in a race or races.
  3. to cause to run, move, or go at high speed: to race a motor.

Origin of race 1 1250–1300; (noun) Middle English ras(e) Old Norse rās a running, race (cognate with Old English rǣs a running); (v.) Middle English rasen, derivative of the noun (compare Old Norse rasa to rush headlong)Related formsan·ti·rac·ing, adjectivepre·rac·ing, adjectivepro·rac·ing, adjective race 2[reys] noun

  1. a group of persons related by common descent or heredity.
  2. a population so related.
  3. Anthropology.
    1. (no longer in technical use) any of the traditional divisions of humankind, the commonest being the Caucasian, Mongoloid, and Negro, characterized by supposedly distinctive and universal physical characteristics.
    2. an arbitrary classification of modern humans, sometimes, especially formerly, based on any or a combination of various physical characteristics, as skin color, facial form, or eye shape, and now frequently based on such genetic markers as blood groups.
    3. a socially constructed category of identification based on physical characteristics, ancestry, historical affiliation, or shared culture: Her parents wanted her to marry within her race.
    4. a human population partially isolated reproductively from other populations, whose members share a greater degree of physical and genetic similarity with one another than with other humans.
  4. a group of tribes or peoples forming an ethnic lineage: the Slavic race.
  5. any people united by common history, language, cultural traits, etc.: the Dutch race.
  6. the human race or family; humankind: Nuclear weapons pose a threat to the race.
  7. Zoology. a variety; subspecies.
  8. a natural kind of living creature: the race of fishes.
  9. any group, class, or kind, especially of persons: Journalists are an interesting race.
  10. the characteristic taste or flavor of wine.


  1. of or relating to the races of humankind.

Origin of race 2 1490–1500; French Italian razza, of obscure originSynonyms for race See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com 1. tribe, clan, family, stock, line, breed. Synonym study 1. Race, people, ethnicity, ethnic group, and nation are terms for a large body of persons who may be thought of as a unit because of common characteristics. Race is no longer in technical use as a biological or anthropological system of classification (see usage note). In certain broader or less technical senses, race is sometimes used interchangeably with people. People refers to a body of persons united usually by common interests, ideals, or culture but sometimes also by a common history, or language: We are one people; the peoples of the world; the Swedish people. As with people , members of an ethnicity or ethnic group are united by a shared culture or culture of origin and sometimes shared history, language, or religion, especially in contrast to the culture of a different group: Several ethnicities were represented in the pride parade. Hostility between ethnic groups divided the region. Nation refers to a current or historical body of persons living under an organized government or rule, occupying a defined area, and acting as a unit in matters of peace and war: the English nation; the Phoenician nation. Usage note Genetic evidence has undermined the idea of racial divisions of the human species and rendered race obsolete as a biological system of classification. Race therefore should no longer be considered as an objective category, as the term formerly was in expressions like the Caucasian race, the Asian race, the Hispanic race. Instead, if the reference is to a particular inherited physical trait, as skin color or eye shape, that salient feature should be mentioned specifically: discrimination based on color. Rather than using race to generalize about national or geographic origin, or even religious affiliation, it is better to be specific: South Korean, of Polish descent. References to cultural affiliation may refer to ethnicity or ethnic group: Kurdish ethnicity, Hispanic ethnicity. Though race is no longer considered a viable scientific categorization of humans, it continues to be used by the U.S. Census to refer to current prevalent categories of self-identification that include some physical traits, some historical affiliations, and some national origins: black, white, American Indian, Chinese, Samoan, etc. The current version of the census also asks whether or not Americans are of Hispanic origin, which is not considered a race . There are times when it is still accurate to talk about race in society. Though race has lost its biological basis, the sociological consequences of historical racial categories persist. For example, it may be appropriate to invoke race to discuss social or historical events shaped by racial categorizations, as slavery, segregation, integration, discrimination, equal employment policy. Often in these cases, the adjective “racial” is more appropriate than the noun “race.” While the scientific foundation for race is now disputed, racial factors in sociological and historical contexts continue to be relevant. race 3[reys] noun

  1. the root of the ginger plant; a gingerroot.

Origin of race 3 1540–50; Middle French rais Latin rādīc- (stem of rādīx) root1 Race [reys] noun

  1. Cape, a cape at the SE extremity of Newfoundland.

Related Words for race run, contention, relay, contest, competition, course, match, sprint, event, chase, marathon, issue, fly, shoot, rush, hurry, gallop, tear, scamper, dart Examples from the Web for race Contemporary Examples of race

  • On Thursday, Garcetti ruled himself out of the race to succeed Boxer.

    The Golden State Preps for the ‘Red Wedding’ of Senate Races

    David Freedlander

    January 9, 2015

  • Think back to the Bush-Kerry race of 2004, the Thrilla in Vanilla.

    Jeb Bush’s Unseen Anti-Gay Marriage Emails

    Jackie Kucinich

    January 9, 2015

  • How far has Congress really evolved on race when in 50 years it has gone from one black senator to two?

    The Unbearable Whiteness of Congress

    Dean Obeidallah

    January 8, 2015

  • If Congress accurately reflected our nation on the basis of race, about 63 percent would be white, not 80 percent.

    The Unbearable Whiteness of Congress

    Dean Obeidallah

    January 8, 2015

  • With Ebola still raging in West Africa, the race to find a vaccine is heating up.

    The Race for the Ebola Vaccine

    Abby Haglage

    January 7, 2015

  • Historical Examples of race

  • Through the teaching of Moses he was to become the sole Master of the Jewish race.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • I regard her as, on the whole, the most extraordinary person of her race I have ever met.

    Harriet, The Moses of Her People

    Sarah H. Bradford

  • He then went on to recount her labors and sacrifices in behalf of her race.

    Harriet, The Moses of Her People

    Sarah H. Bradford

  • Deep were my musings, as to the race and attributes of that ethereal being.

    The Vision of the Fountain (From “Twice Told Tales”)

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • For a race which has the infinite as its goal the word must be on and on.

    The Conquest of Fear

    Basil King

  • British Dictionary definitions for race race 1 noun

    1. a contest of speed, as in running, swimming, driving, riding, etc
    2. any competition or rivalrythe race for the White House
    3. rapid or constant onward movementthe race of time
    4. a rapid current of water, esp one through a narrow channel that has a tidal range greater at one end than the other
    5. a channel of a stream, esp one for conducting water to or from a water wheel or other device for utilizing its energya mill race
      1. a channel or groove that contains ball bearings or roller bearings or that restrains a sliding component
      2. the inner or outer cylindrical ring in a ball bearing or roller bearing
    6. Australian and NZ a narrow passage or enclosure in a sheep yard through which sheep pass individually, as to a sheep dip
    7. Australian a wire tunnel through which footballers pass from the changing room onto a football field
    8. NZ a line of containers coupled together, used in mining to transport coal
    9. another name for slipstream (def. 1)
    10. archaic the span or course of life
    11. not in the race Australian informal given or having no chance


    1. to engage in a contest of speed with (another)
    2. to engage (oneself or one’s representative) in a race, esp as a profession or pastimeto race pigeons
    3. to move or go as fast as possible
    4. to run (an engine, shaft, propeller, etc) or (of an engine, shaft, propeller, etc) to run at high speed, esp after reduction of the load or resistance

    See also race off, races Word Origin for race C13: from Old Norse rās running; related to Old English rǣs attack race 2 noun

    1. a group of people of common ancestry, distinguished from others by physical characteristics, such as hair type, colour of eyes and skin, stature, etc. Principal races are Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid
    2. the human race human beings collectively
    3. a group of animals or plants having common characteristics that distinguish them from other members of the same species, usually forming a geographically isolated group; subspecies
    4. a group of people sharing the same interests, characteristics, etcthe race of authors
    5. play the race card informal to introduce the subject of race into a public discussion, esp to gain a strategic advantage

    Word Origin for race C16: from French, from Italian razza, of uncertain origin race 3 noun

    1. a ginger root

    Word Origin for race C15: from Old French rais, from Latin rādīx a root Race noun

    1. Cape Race a cape at the SE extremity of Newfoundland, Canada

    Word Origin and History for race n.1

    “act of running,” c.1300, from Old Norse ras “running, rush (of water),” cognate with Old English ræs “a running, a rush, a leap, jump; a storming, an attack;” or else a survival of the Old English word with spelling influenced by the Old Norse one. The Norse and Old English words are from Proto-Germanic *res- (cf. Middle Dutch rasen “to rave, rage,” German rasen, Old English raesettan “to rage” (of fire)), from a variant form of PIE *ers- “be in motion” (see err). Originally a northern word, it became general in English c.1550. Meaning “act of running” is from early 14c. Meaning “contest of speed” first recorded 1510s.


    “people of common descent,” a word from the 16th century, from Middle French race, earlier razza “race, breed, lineage, family” (16c.), possibly from Italian razza, of unknown origin (cf. Spanish and Portuguese raza). Etymologists say no connection with Latin radix “root,” though they admit this might have influenced the “tribe, nation” sense.

    Original senses in English included “wines with characteristic flavor” (1520), “group of people with common occupation” (c.1500), and “generation” (1540s). Meaning “tribe, nation, or people regarded as of common stock” is by 1560s. Modern meaning of “one of the great divisions of mankind based on physical peculiarities” is from 1774 (though as OED points out, even among anthropologists there never has been an accepted classification of these).

    Just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine. [Dick Gregory, 1964]

    In mid-20c. U.S. music catalogues, “Negro.” Klein suggests these derive from Arabic ra’s “head, beginning, origin” (cf. Hebrew rosh). Old English þeode meant both “race, folk, nation” and “language;” as a verb, geþeodan, it meant “to unite, to join.”


    c.1200, rasen “to rush,” from a Scandinavian source akin to the source of race (n.1), reinforced by the noun in English and by Old English cognate ræsan “to rush headlong, hasten, enter rashly.” Meaning “run swiftly” is from 1757. Meaning “run in competition against” is from 1809. Transitive sense of “cause to run” is from 1860. In reference to an engine, etc., “run with uncontrolled speed,” from 1862. Related: Raced; racing.


    “strong current of water,” late 14c., perhaps a particular use of race (n.1), or from or influenced by Old French raz, which had a similar meaning, and which probably is from Breton raz “a strait, narrow channel;” this French source also may have given race its meaning of “channel of a stream” (especially an artificial one to a mill), which is recorded in English from 1560s.

    race in Medicine race [rās] n.

    1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
    2. A population of organisms differing from others of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits; a subspecies.
    3. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.

    race in Science race [rās]

      1. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
      2. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
    1. Any of several extensive human populations associated with broadly defined regions of the world and distinguished from one another on the basis of inheritable physical characteristics, traditionally conceived as including such traits as pigmentation, hair texture, and facial features. Because the number of genes responsible for such physical variations is tiny in comparison to the size of the human genome and because genetic variation among members of a traditionally recognized racial group is generally as great as between two such groups, most scientists now consider race to be primarily a social rather than a scientific concept.

    Idioms and Phrases with race race

    see rat race; slow but sure (steady wins the race).

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