Definition of Aryan in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɛːrɪən/


1Relating to or denoting a people speaking an Indo-European language who invaded northern India in the 2nd millennium bc, displacing the Dravidian and other aboriginal peoples.
Example sentences
  • Some time in the second millennium BCE the Aryan people arrived in north-west India.
  • Believing that he had spoken to the ancient Iranian high god Ahura Mazda, Zoroaster undertook a reform of the old Indo-Iranian religion of the Aryan invaders of India and Iran.
  • The use of honey was taken to India by its Aryan invaders and became associated with religious rites.
1.1 old-fashioned term for Proto-Indo-European or Indo-Iranian.
1.2(In Nazi ideology) relating to or denoting people of Caucasian race not of Jewish descent.
Example sentences
  • The Jews figured in Nazi ideology as the arch-enemy of the Aryan race.
  • They believe the Jews control the U.S. government and are out to destroy the Aryan race.
  • The 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws against Jews outlawed mixed marriages in pursuit of a pure Aryan race.

The idea that there was an ‘Aryan’ race corresponding to the parent Indo-European language was proposed by certain 19th-century writers, and was taken up by Hitler and other proponents of racist ideology, but it has been generally rejected by scholars.


1A member of the ancient Aryan people: the Aryans brought Hindu religious thought to India
More example sentences
  • He seems likely to have been a chief god of the Aryans, who invaded the Indian subcontinent in the second millennium BCE.
  • It is argued that Aryans brought horses and chariots into the Indian sub-continent and that accounts for their mention in the Vedas.
  • Together with Mehregan (entrance of Libra to the house of Sun), it was one of the ‘two’ New Years of the ancient Aryans.
1.1 [mass noun] The language of the Aryan people.
Example sentences
  • To a scientifically trained person, genetics of course cannot tell if some people living thousands of years ago were Aryan speakers or Dravidic speakers.
1.2(In Nazi ideology) a person of Caucasian race not of Jewish descent: he looked the image of the ideal Aryan: tall, with Nordic blonde hair
More example sentences
  • In the early stages of Hitler's terror, the Jewish spouses of Aryans were spared transportation to ‘the East.’
  • Hitler believed that the Aryans were a superior race.
  • There he was with black hair, as far away as he could come in appearance from the Aryans, the master race with which he wanted to populate the earth.


From Sanskrit ārya 'noble' + -an.

  • This is based on Sanskrit ārya ‘noble’. Aryan is used by some as an equivalent of the term Indo-European for a language family. In the 19th century, the notion of an Aryan race corresponding to a definite Aryan language became current and was taken up by nationalistic historical and romantic writers. One of these was De Gobineau (1816–82), an anthropologist who linked the idea to a notion of inferiority of certain races. Later the term Aryan race was revived and used as propaganda in Nazi Germany.

Words that rhyme with Aryan

agrarian, antiquarian, apiarian, Aquarian, Arian, authoritarian, barbarian, Bavarian, Bulgarian, Caesarean (US Cesarean), centenarian, communitarian, contrarian, Darien, disciplinarian, egalitarian, equalitarian, establishmentarian, fruitarian, Gibraltarian, grammarian, Hanoverian, humanitarian, Hungarian, latitudinarian, libertarian, librarian, majoritarian, millenarian, necessarian, necessitarian, nonagenarian, octogenarian, ovarian, Parian, parliamentarian, planarian, predestinarian, prelapsarian, proletarian, quadragenarian, quinquagenarian, quodlibetarian, Rastafarian, riparian, rosarian, Rotarian, sabbatarian, Sagittarian, sanitarian, Sauveterrian, sectarian, seminarian, septuagenarian, sexagenarian, topiarian, totalitarian, Trinitarian, ubiquitarian, Unitarian, utilitarian, valetudinarian, vegetarian, veterinarian, vulgarian

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