A promontory of southeast Newfoundland, Canada, on the coast of the Avalon Peninsula.
1. A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
2. A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.
3. A genealogical line; a lineage.
4. Humans considered as a group.
a. An interbreeding, usually geographically isolated population of organisms differing from other populations of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits. A race that has been given formal taxonomic recognition is known as a subspecies.
b. A breed or strain, as of domestic animals.
6. A distinguishing or characteristic quality, such as the flavor of a wine.
[French, from Old French, from Old Italian razza, race, lineage.]
Usage Note: The notion of race is nearly as problematic from a scientific point of view as it is from a social one. European physical anthropologists of the 17th and 18th centuries proposed various systems of racial classifications based on such observable characteristics as skin color, hair type, body proportions, and skull measurements, essentially codifying the perceived differences among broad geographic populations of humans. The traditional terms for these populationsCaucasoid (or Caucasian), Mongoloid, Negroid, and in some systems Australoidare now controversial in both technical and nontechnical usage, and in some cases they may well be considered offensive. (Caucasian does retain a certain currency in American English, but it is used almost exclusively to mean white or European rather than belonging to the Caucasian race, a group that includes a variety of peoples generally categorized as nonwhite.) The biological aspect of race is described today not in observable physical features but rather in such genetic characteristics as blood groups and metabolic processes, and the groupings indicated by these factors seldom coincide very neatly with those put forward by earlier physical anthropologists. Citing this and other pointssuch as the fact that a person who is considered black in one society might be nonblack in anothermany cultural anthropologists now consider race to be more a social or mental construct than an objective biological fact.
a. A competition of speed, as in running or riding.
b. races A series of such competitions held at a specified time on a regular course: a fan of the dog races.
2. An extended competition in which participants struggle like runners to be the winner: the presidential race.
3. Steady or rapid onward movement: the race of time.
a. A strong or swift current of water.
b. The channel of such a current.
c. An artificial channel built to transport water and use its energy. Also called raceway.
5. A groovelike part of a machine in which a moving part slides or rolls.