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col·ored (kŭlərd)
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adj.
1. Having color: colored tissue paper.
2. also Colored Often Offensive
a. Of or belonging to a racial group not categorized as white.
b. Black or African-American.
c. Of mixed racial descent.
3. often Coloured South African Of or belonging to a population grouping made up of persons of mixed racial descent or of certain other nonwhite descent, especially as distinguished during apartheid from blacks, Asians, or whites.
4. Distorted or biased, as by irrelevant or incorrect information.
n. pl. colored or coloreds
1. also Colored Offensive
a. A person belonging to a racial group not categorized as white.
b. A black person, especially an African American.
c. A person of mixed racial descent.
2. often Coloured South African A person belonging to the Coloured population grouping, especially during apartheid.
3. coloreds Pieces of laundry that are not light in color.

Usage Note: As a racial label, colored can simply mean nonwhite, but in the United States it has generally been restricted to persons of African descent. Though once a preferred term among black Americans, it lost favor as the 20th century progressed, and its use today is usually taken to be offensive. · In South Africa, where it is spelled Coloured, it has generally been used to refer to persons of mixed racial descent as opposed to those of unmixed black African, Asian, or European origin. Its use as an official ethnic label ended when apartheid was dismantled in 1991. See Usage Note at person of color.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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