Share this entry

Share this page

person of color

Syllabification: per·son of col·or
(also man of color, woman of color)

Definition of person of color in English:


A person who is not white or of European parentage.
Example sentences
  • For the purposes of this article, an interracial family is defined as any partnership between a white person, a person of color, and their offspring.
  • In the years preceding our new strategy, we had been a department of nine or ten white people and one person of color.
  • I don't think I've ever been in a place where every single service-worker was a person of colour or obviously a new immigrant.


The term person of color is first recorded at the end of the 18th century. It was revived in the 1990s as the recommended term to use in some official contexts, especially in US English, to refer to a person who is not white. In general use, however, it comes across as somewhat contrived, and even in official contexts it never quite took hold. The word nonwhite, for instance, which is one of the terms person of color was meant to replace, is often the preferred choice, especially in demographic descriptions. See also black (usage), colored, and nonwhite.

Definition of person of color in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day boscage
Pronunciation: ˈbäskij
massed trees or shrubs