Definition of Aryan in English:



  • 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.

    • ‘He found Indian art and culture ‘a joint creation of the Dravidian and Aryan genius.’’
    • ‘It is a time when the integration of the Aryan and indigenous Dravidian tribes causes confusion within the social structures.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Making use of recent archaeological findings, the author gives an overview of the so-called Aryan problem which has distorted the roots of ancient India's history and therefore of Indian civilization.’
    • ‘The cult of the mother-goddess predates the Aryan invasion of India.’
    • ‘In a country where populations of highly different origins and aptitudes live side by side, from men of the forest to refined Gangetic craftsmen and proud Aryan warriors, an equitable place had to be found for all.’
    • ‘The use of honey was taken to India by its Aryan invaders and became associated with religious rites.’
    • ‘Oppenheimer doesn't go into this question, but diehard invasionists might use his findings to suggest an Aryan invasion into India not from the northwest, but from the southeast.’
    • ‘The first chapter discusses the Aryan migration into India, with a precise discussion of the evidence and why certain things are generally believed by contemporary historians about this topic.’
    • ‘This seemingly incongruous role-reversal serves to bolster Mann's depiction of the subversive nature of the relationship between the Aryan and Dravidian elements of the story.’
    • ‘If the horse is a conclusive sign of Aryan presence, then it is in India long before the Harappan Civilization in Neolithic sites.’
    • ‘Dravidians, who were ‘second class' citizens in Aryan kingdoms, were dark.’
    • ‘With its roots in early Western scholarship, it was this view, of a great Aryan race and civilization, that later became popular with Hindu nationalists.’
    • ‘Iran may observe the most militant form of Islam, but when the question of their ethnic origin arises, the Iranians proudly claim their Aryan descent.’
    • ‘This has also been a widely held view among Western scholars, who have dated the Aryan migration to about 1500 BCE and the Rig Veda, the earliest known scripture of the Aryans, to about 1200 BCE.’
    • ‘Hinduism might have started as Dravidian civilization and later merged with Aryan civilization.’
    • ‘Early Vedic texts make a distinction between the ordinary members of the Aryan tribe that had subjugated much of northern India and the warrior nobility referred to as the Ksatriya.’
    • ‘It was early Aryan architectural forms that were translated into the architecture of India for thousands of years.’
    • ‘Some time in the second millennium BCE the Aryan people arrived in north-west India.’
    • ‘They took steps to divide Hindus and Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, upper castes and lower castes, Aryan North and Dravidian South.’
    1. 1.1
      old-fashioned term for Proto-Indo-European or Indo-Iranian
    2. 1.2 (in Nazi ideology) relating to or denoting people of Caucasian race not of Jewish descent.
      • ‘This idea went so far that Hitler asserted there was an Aryan science and that Albert Einstein was incorrect simply because he was a Jew.’
      • ‘He has publicly stated that he believes ‘genocide is being committed against the white Aryan race in Britain because of intermarriage and immigration’.’
      • ‘Germany's athletic superstar of the time was Lutz Lang - a brilliant long jumper who easily fitted into the image of blond hair, blue eyed Aryan racial superiority.’
      • ‘The 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws against Jews outlawed mixed marriages in pursuit of a pure Aryan race.’
      • ‘In Germany, only Aryan women were considered sufficiently evolved to be capable of fulfilling the maternal role or of bearing fit children.’
      • ‘The Nazis demonstrated to rational human beings the dangers of the menacing idiocy of racial prejudice by carrying it through to its chilling conclusion in the mass murder of Jews, as enemies of ‘Germanic and Aryan purity’.’
      • ‘On 7 April 1933 the Nazis passed a law which, under clause three, ordered the retirement of civil servants who were not of Aryan descent, with exemptions for participants in World War I and pre-war officials.’
      • ‘Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's head of propaganda, had tried to keep the popular star in Germany, first by offering Veidt's half-Jewish wife, Lily Preger, an Aryan certificate, and later with house arrest.’
      • ‘They believe the Jews control the U.S. government and are out to destroy the Aryan race.’
      • ‘The rise of fascism, with its Aryan ideology, made Sterne look at racism in her own country.’
      • ‘The Nazis viewed homosexuality as a sickness linked to a Jewish plot to weaken Aryan men.’
      • ‘The film ROSENSTRASSE is based on events, which took place in Berlin in 1943 when Aryan spouses of Jews held a vigil outside the centre in which their husbands and wives were being held, awaiting deportation.’
      • ‘When Austrian Jews either died in concentration camps or were forced to flee the country, their property was taken over by Aryan Austrians, the great majority of whom refused to give it back after the war.’
      • ‘The twentieth century was scarred by the nightmare of Hitler's dream for the Aryan race.’
      • ‘I read all about how the Aryan race was superior, how Jews were evil and not to be trusted, how Poles were dirty and had no culture.’
      • ‘Finally, it is also possible that particularly men stemming from the lower strata of German society felt a certain attraction to the idea of ruling over other peoples as the proud representatives of the Aryan Herrenvolk.’
      • ‘In Gottingen, it was Aryan academics who encouraged the dismissal of their Jewish colleagues.’
      • ‘The Jews figured in Nazi ideology as the arch-enemy of the Aryan race.’
      • ‘At the heart of Hitler's world view was his racist belief in the superiority of the pure German people - the Aryan race.’
      • ‘The Berlin Olympics, best remembered for Hitler's failed attempts to transform them into an Aryan propaganda campaign, had been dominated by American athlete Jesse Owens and his remarkable haul of four gold medals.’

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’
    • ‘It met with its critics, however, who doubted the historical accuracy of the claim to an Aryan golden age and dismissed the divisiveness of favouring the Aryans above all other religious groups.’
    • ‘None of India's many ancient civilizations, or the successive imperial invaders from the North, starting with the Aryans in 1500 BC, ever managed to impose their will on the whole subcontinent.’
    • ‘He seems likely to have been a chief god of the Aryans, who invaded the Indian subcontinent in the second millennium BCE.’
    • ‘Archeological remains further indicate intermittent and devastating floods around this time and possible invasions by the Aryans, whose epics refer to their conquest of walled cities.’
    • ‘Therefore, argued Mueller, after Adam and Eve, it would have taken a 1,000 years or so to populate Europe (with pure Aryans, of course).’
    • ‘Nor are there any surviving traces of a mushroom cult in the Indian subcontinent, although some believe that the plant ‘soma’, deified by the Aryans in the Indus Valley in times BC, was fly agaric.’
    • ‘In response, Abduh indicated that the present culture of Europe did not originate from the Aryans and the Greeks, but from contact with the Semitic nations.’
    • ‘Unlike Aryan Christians, neopagan Aryans acknowledged that Christ was a Jew - and for that reason rejected Christianity.’
    • ‘Holi is an ancient festival of the Aryans, mentioned in 4,500-year-old Sanskrit texts.’
    • ‘When the Aryans invaded India three thousand years ago, they tried to replace her with their own masculine gods.’
    • ‘The Aryans (Aryan means noble) were a nomadic people who may have come to India from the areas around southern Russia and the Baltic.’
    • ‘The Aryans were supposedly the ancestors of the Greeks, Persians, Indians, Scandinavians, Anglo-Saxons & Germans.’
    • ‘Initially they came first in the developing varna or caste system that the Aryans used to classify their society between priests, warriors, and free peasants or traders.’
    • ‘They will insist in all their books that the Aryans were invaders from outside.’
    • ‘It is argued that Aryans brought horses and chariots into the Indian sub-continent and that accounts for their mention in the Vedas.’
    • ‘But some scholars assert that fair skinned Aryans invaded India during 1500 BC and defeated dark skinned Dravidians and pushed them into South India.’
    • ‘Hedgewar was influenced by V. D. Savarkar, who believed that Hindus were the descendants of the ancient Aryans and properly formed a nation with a unified geography, race, and culture.’
    • ‘Cattle were the most valued possession of the Aryan, signifying wealth and ability to make great sacrifices to the gods.’
    • ‘Together with Mehregan (entrance of Libra to the house of Sun), it was one of the ‘two’ New Years of the ancient Aryans.’
    • ‘Being able to contact the conscious characteristic in everything, the Aryans saw all of nature as conscious and personal, and addressed everything as conscious beings.’
    1. 1.1mass noun The language of the Aryan people.
      • ‘To a scientifically trained person, genetics of course cannot tell if some people living thousands of years ago were Aryan speakers or Dravidic speakers.’
    2. 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’
      • ‘They had met on Rosenstrasse, a street in Berlin where, in 1943, thousands of Aryans, mostly women, camped out as they waited for the release of their detained Jewish spouses.’
      • ‘He just didn't think Jews, or disabled Aryans for that matter, were people.’
      • ‘We are shown park benches for Jews only and for Aryans only.’
      • ‘In Jung's view, the problem was largely one of shadow projection, the Aryans projecting their shadow on to the Jews, and vice versa.’
      • ‘Once Ernst's divorce comes through and he remarries, Lilli no longer has the protection of being the Jewish wife of an Aryan.’
      • ‘It made much of the long-distance triumphs of the Finns (perhaps reckoned Aryan by twisted Nazi science), but I was struck by image after image of black athletes taking their places on the winners' rostrum.’
      • ‘A decree-law of November defined Judaism in biological rather than religious terms and prohibited intermarriage with Aryans.’
      • ‘In the 20th century, the Nazis used craniometry and anthropometry to distinguish Aryans from non-Aryans.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One need not make reference to the so-called ‘German Christians’ who distorted all Christian traditions to prove that Jesus was an Aryan.’
      • ‘Most terrifyingly, he considered the Jews to be the most inferior race of all, whose presence posed ‘a problem’ as long as they existed alongside Aryans.’
      • ‘In the early stages of Hitler's terror, the Jewish spouses of Aryans were spared transportation to ‘the East.’’
      • ‘I remember from my childhood the decent Germans, so-called Aryans who, being opponents of the Nazi regime, disappeared into concentration camps in and after 1933.’
      • ‘He believed that speedy action was necessary in order to prevent what he saw as a grave threat - that is, that the ‘subhuman’ Slavic races would eventually outnumber the Aryans.’
      • ‘Because Hitler regarded the Slavs as inferior to the Aryans, he considered that they should not be afforded the privilege of serving in the German armed forces.’
      • ‘Hitler believed that the Aryans were a superior race.’
      • ‘Hitler said that the Aryans were a pretty much divine race of supermen, different in kind from other lower races of men.’
      • ‘Would resistance by fellow Aryans to the Nazi program have affected events?’
      • ‘He comes to believe that Aryans must develop a similar rigor with regard to ‘race’ and collective identity.’
      • ‘Food became scarce, and Jews received a smaller ration than Aryans.’


From Sanskrit ārya ‘noble’ + -an.