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Attested since 1720, from Latin Teutonēs, Teutonī (the Teutons)[1] (cf. Ancient Greek Τεύτονες (Teútones)), a Germanic or Celtic tribe that inhabited a coastal area in today's Germany and devastated Gaul between 113 and 101 BCE. Possibly from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂ (people), from which come Proto-Celtic *toutā (whence Old Irish túath), Proto-Germanic *þeudanaz (ruler, leader of the people) (whence Gothic 𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰𐌽𐍃 (þiudans, king), Old Norse þjóðann (prince, king), Old Saxon þiudan (lord of the people, ruler), Old English þēoden (king, lord)), Proto-Germanic *þeudō (people) (whence Old English þēod (nation, people, country, language)), Russian чужо́й (čužój, stranger), чудно (čudno, strange), чу́до (čúdo, miracle)(Can this(+) etymology be sourced?), the English word Dutch and the German autonym deutsch. Also cognate with English thede.


  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈt(j)u.tən/, /ˈt(j)u.tɑn/
  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈt(j)uː.tən/, /ˈt(j)uː.tɒn/


Teuton (plural Teutons)

  1. (historical) A member of an early Germanic tribe living in Jutland noted in historical writings by Greek and Roman authors.
    • 1864, Charles Kingsley, The Roman and the Teuton: A Series of Lectures Delivered Before the University of Cambridge, page 220:
      The difference between the Clergy and the Teuton conquerors was more than a difference of creed, or of civilization. It was an actual difference of race. They were Romans, to whom the Teuton was a savage, speaking a different tongue, obeying different laws, his whole theory of the universe different from the Roman.
    • 1946, Arnold Joseph Toynbee, A Study of History[1], volume 1, page 153:
      We have noted that the Teutonic layer of European barbarians, unlike the Celtic layer, resisted the disintegrating action of Hellenism to such effect that the Teutons were able to take their place in the external proletariat of the Hellenic World and to dispatch the Hellenic Society in its death agonies with the coup de grâce.
    • 2007, Judika Illes, Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting[2], page 8:
      Some fifteen hundred years ago, the Teuton tribes of Northern Europe held an annual ceremony. [] We can't presume to understand all that this specific ritual meant to the Teutons nor precisely what their expectations might have been.
    • 2012, Peter Longerich, Heinrich Himmler: A Life[3], page 271:
      What he imagined the social order and the experience of the Teutons actually to have been, and why this lost world should represent an ideal, is, it must be said, hard to discover. His pronouncements on the Teutons of the Dark Ages are decidedly sparse.
  2. (historical) A member of the Teutonic Order.
    • 2008, K. M. Lucchese, Folk Like Me: The Read-Aloud Book of Saints[4], page 51:
      The third threat, from the Teutonic Knights of Germany, was the worst, because the Crusader Teutons wanted not only Russian land but also to kill off the people of Russia because they were a different kind of Christian from them!
    • 2009, Kadir I. Natho, Circassian History[5], page 177:
      Its garrison consisted of the Templars and Hospitalliers, the knights of Cyprus, Teutons, French, English, Pizzan, Venetian, and Genoan mercenaries. [] On the following day the New Tower of the city, which was defended by the Teuton knights, was taken by assault.
  3. A member of any Germanic-language-speaking people, especially a German.
    • 1901, Edward Alsworth Ross, Social Control: A Survey of the Foundations of Order, 2009, page 16:
      In the first place, a prolonged struggle in the North Temperate Zone, with a harsh, though not a depressing, natural environment, endows the Teuton with unusual energy and initiative. Then centuries of wanderings in which the strong set forth and the weak and timid stay behind, brings the Teuton to the west of Europe, to the British Isles, and to America, with a courage, enterprise, and self-assertion rare in the history of man. The Teuton becomes the Anglo-Saxon, and therewith less apt for the gregarious life.
    • 1915, G. K. Chesterton, The Crimes of England, 2008, unnumbered page:
      Every Teuton must fall on his face before an inferior Teuton; until they all find, in the foul marshes towards the Baltic, the very lowest of all possible Teutons, and worship him--and find he is a Slav. So much for Pan-Germanism.
    • 1976, Harry R. Boer, A Short History of the Early Church[6], page 122:
      The history of the Teutons, or Germans, as they are more commonly called, is very much like that of the Bantu in central Africa.

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  1. ^ “Teutŏni”, in: Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short: A Latin Dictionary. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1879.