Definition of etic in English:



  • Studying or describing a particular language or culture in a way that is general, non-structural, and objective in its perspective.

    ‘is there a valid cross-cultural etic definition of violence?’
    Often contrasted with emic
    • ‘But where emic and etic accounts differ lies the potential for insights into, and explanations for, puzzling human behavior.’
    • ‘The importance of finding a set of etic dimensions and corresponding and yet valid and reliable measures on which ethnic groups may be compared is stressed by our findings, which may represent a step in this direction.’
    • ‘In ethnographic studies, the orientation of the researcher is termed etic or emic.’
    • ‘Drawing on data from biological anthropology, historical linguistics, and archaeology, he attempts an etic examination of the processes of formation of ethnic groups in the Japanese islands between 400 BC and the medieval era.’
    • ‘Related to the problems of anachronism and ethnocentrism is the distinction between emic and etic terms.’
    • ‘Some anthropologists address the problem of determining from whose perspective an observation is meaningful and against which set of standards it should be validated by calling attention to the emic or etic status of data.’


1950s: abstracted from phonetic.