Aryan

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Aryan /ˈɛərjən/ is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit Arya ('Noble')[1][2][3] and denoting variously

  • in dated usage:
    • the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers (no longer widely used within the scholarly community)
  • in contemporary usage:
    • Among Hindu nationalists, the Hindu/Indian people [6][7][8]
    • in colloquial English, and according to Nazi racial theory, persons corresponding to the "Nordic", "blond-haired, blue-eyed" physical ideal of Nazi Germany (the "master race" ideology) [n 1]
    • within the ideology of white supremacy, the "White race", i.e., Caucasians who are native Indo-Europeans of the Western or European branch of the Indo-European peoples, as opposed to the Eastern or Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European peoples.
    • The "Aryan race" taken to correspond to the original speakers of Indo-European languages and their present day descendants.[10]

As an adaptation of the Latin Arianus, referring to eastern part of ancient Iran, 'Arian' has "long been in English language use".[11] Its history as a loan word began in the late 18th century, when the word was borrowed from Sanskrit ārya[1] to refer to speakers of North Indian languages.[11] When it was determined that Iranian languages — both living and ancient — used a similar term in much the same way (but in the Iranian context as a self-identifier of Iranian peoples), it became apparent that the shared meaning had to derive from the ancestor language of the shared past, and so, by the early 19th century, the word 'Aryan' came to refer to the group of languages deriving from that ancestor language, and by extension, the speakers of those languages.[12]

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