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Alternative formsEdit


African-American (comparative more African-American, superlative most African-American)

  1. (of a person) American and black.
  2. (nonstandard, US, of a person) Black.
  3. Of or pertaining to the culture of African-American people.

Usage notesEdit

  • In the US, this term is often seen as a more formal and polite alternative to black.
  • Aside from black and of color, most other synonyms are dated, and likely to be considered offensive in the US.
  • This term is not used (except jocularly) for Americans of North African descent whose skin is not black, such as Berbers or Egyptians, nor is it used for white South Africans. It is specifically used to refer to the group of people who have descended from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and have resided in the United States for centuries but is sometimes used to refer to Afro-Caribbeans, more recent African immigrants, or erroneously to any black person, even if not American.




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African-American (plural African-Americans)

  1. A black American.
  2. (nonstandard, US) Any black person.

Usage notesEdit

  • See the notes about the adjective, above.