Main definitions of race in English

: race1race2race3

race1

noun

  • 1A competition between runners, horses, vehicles, etc. to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.

    ‘Hill started from pole position and won the race’
    • ‘Traffic to the course was so heavy that some runners missed their intended races.’
    • ‘But we did compete in sack races, running races, egg-and-spoon races, swimming races, whatever.’
    • ‘The day kicked off at noon with a number of children's events, including several races and potato-and-spoon time trials.’
    • ‘Now whether he has the horses to run the race is a whole other story.’
    • ‘The worst horse in the race has been cruelly handicapped by its own jockey.’
    • ‘But it's a bit of a pay-off, you know, driving in a race and winning a race is a fantastic thrill, they love it.’
    • ‘With only eight horses in the race, though, I don't think the pace will be a big factor.’
    • ‘Since then there have been 13 Olympic or world championship 100m races and 39 medals won.’
    • ‘The final two races at Hawthorne Race Course on Wednesday were cancelled due to inclement weather conditions.’
    • ‘The skills jockeys employ to get horses to win races are largely visible and obvious - despite many attempts at mystification by a racing culture addicted to magic and superstition.’
    • ‘It used to be drivers tried to win races because they were competitive - and certainly, the desire to win still is foremost in their minds.’
    • ‘His six wins in 2001 are the fewest in any of his championship seasons, but he led 100 or more laps in seven races he didn't win.’
    • ‘Despite getting down three laps early in the race because of a problem, he fought back and finished fourth.’
    • ‘A mate of mine who's a jockey once won a race on a horse of the same name, interestingly enough.’
    • ‘This event was hugely successful with a Race Card of fifty-one races and over seventy generous sponsors whose names were listed on the official programme.’
    • ‘I've seen him come back from laps down to win races and get himself back in contention.’
    • ‘In a normal race, the runners line up on the starting line to get a fair start.’
    • ‘Events varied from 20-km solo and team time trials to cross-country races, a hill climb and a dirt criterium.’
    • ‘Overall, he has won three of 30 races in the event, with a pair of seconds and four thirds.’
    • ‘In varsity and Olympic competition, races may involve boats with one, two, four, or eight rowers.’
    contest, competition
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the races A series of races for horses or dogs, held at a fixed time on a set course.
      • ‘For many, the day was a chance to have a family trip out and children seemed to be enjoying the excitement of the races as much as the adults and some were even picking out winners.’
      • ‘This ride has been a huge part of our preparation for the races over the past several years.’
      • ‘In 1869, for example, a secret camera was set up on Derby Day, to take photographs of gentlemen visiting the races with ladies other than their wives.’
      • ‘There were great parties and much jubilation at the races on Thursday afternoon and a good time was had by one and all.’
      • ‘Even the rain did not dampen the appetites of visitors, who have indulged in the traditional chief activities of the races - eating and drinking.’
      • ‘We have a clear vision of what our goals are and are feeling motivated to work hard this winter in preparation for the races.’
      • ‘Our ten grand prize finalists and their guests were treated to a VIP day at the races, each excited by the fact that they were in with a one in ten chance of winning a sleek new car.’
      • ‘They are light-hearted, and evoke both the excitement of the races and the happiness of the rare sun in England's cloudy climate.’
      • ‘We took him home that afternoon before the races started.’
      • ‘I bet he's down at the races right now in fact instead of here talking to you people.’
      • ‘It was a day for the whole family as old friends used the event as a chance to catch up over the festive break and watch the excitement of the races.’
      • ‘But, despite entering all the races, he couldn't steer home a winner and it proved a costly day out for those punters that stuck with the local man.’
      • ‘It describes a lifetime, Mick's own lifetime, spent attending the races and punting on dogs and horses with varying degrees of success.’
      • ‘I was determined not to get sucked into it, but we'd already been out all night and most of the afternoon at the races and somehow… well, it seemed the logical next step.’
      • ‘My first trip to the races was probably one of the most fun trips for me.’
      • ‘Everyone enjoyed the fun and excitement of the races.’
      • ‘The association fears the races will either have to be scaled down to an invitation race in September or cancelled completely for lack of funds.’
      • ‘Currently in Australia, online gambling is mostly confined to wagering, a flutter on the races or sports betting.’
      • ‘The idea should be to advertise to potential fans, not to the ones who already are watching the races.’
      • ‘Thursday was Ladies Day and, after a very wet morning, it was a handsome afternoon at the races.’
    2. 1.2 A situation in which individuals or groups compete to be first to achieve a particular objective.
      ‘the race for nuclear power’
      • ‘The Democrats have five states where they don't have an incumbent seat up, so it's a huge race for them.’
      • ‘Biotechnology investments are soaring worldwide, fuelling the race for patents.’
      • ‘In fact, this presidential race is, by far, the most expensive in American history.’
      • ‘Back then, the moon race touched virtually every aspect of life.’
      • ‘At the moment, the women are also ensconced in their Third Division, and the race is on to see which squad can secure promotion first.’
      • ‘Let me tell you: in 1965, the Soviets were ahead in the race to the Moon.’
      • ‘The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is becoming more nasty.’
      • ‘Yes, and in fact in every presidential race there's always a candidate whose honesty is refreshing.’
      • ‘The race for that last Champions League spot will be exciting all the way to the finish.’
      • ‘In 1964, the city got to cast electoral votes in the presidential race for the first time.’
      • ‘The offence went unpunished and possession was lost and in the race to get back Nick Carter made a desperate tackle and was sin-binned.’
      • ‘The area is crowded with vendors, big and small, all jockeying for position in the race to gain market share.’
      • ‘The Cold War turned the race to reach the moon into a battle of ideological honour.’
      • ‘On the 10th day before Christmas… the race for the Christmas number one record begins.’
      • ‘By then it was apparent that the Soviets would lose the race to the Moon.’
      • ‘There have been many books about Apollo, a high proportion by the contestants in the race to the moon.’
      • ‘The race to land a human on the Moon may be over, but the race to discover and tap its resources is just beginning.’
      • ‘Since there are no national campaigns, these governor's races are going to be watched intently.’
      • ‘The race for the Oscars is about to reach fever pitch.’
      • ‘But the focus now shifts to the race for the three vice-presidential slots, the next level down.’
      • ‘There will also be a race for the deputy leadership.’
      competition, contest, rivalry, contention, quest
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3archaic The course of the sun or moon through the heavens.
      ‘the industrious sun already half his race hath run’
  • 2A strong or rapid current flowing through a narrow channel in the sea or a river.

    ‘angling for tuna in turbulent tidal races’
    • ‘It is this submerged reef that causes fierce surges of current in the tide races in the area.’
    • ‘The Crew dropped anchor in the hope of keeping out of the tide race, which is very strong between the Isle of Eynhallow and Mainland.’
    • ‘The sea was grey and the tide race choppy, but it was beautiful, in a wild way.’
    • ‘The current will pick up and carry you out and round the point, through the area of the tidal race.’
    • ‘The dhow exits the lagoon just after low tide, going against the now-incoming current but avoiding the tidal race that forms on an outgoing tide.’
    • ‘The rescue proved timely, as the area is prone to large tidal races.’
    channel, waterway, watercourse, conduit, sluice, spillway, aqueduct
    View synonyms
  • 3A water channel, especially one built to lead water to or from a point where its energy is utilized, as in a mill or mine.

    • ‘Roads were formed and water races constructed for gold mining and the irrigation that would lead to the prosperity that would follow.’
    • ‘Still visible is the mill water race and base of the chimney.’
  • 4A smooth ring-shaped groove or guide in which a ball bearing or roller bearing runs.

  • 5A fenced passageway in a stockyard through which animals pass singly for branding, loading, washing, etc.

  • 6(in weaving) the channel along which the shuttle moves.

verb

  • 1no object Compete with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective.

    ‘the vet took blood samples from the horses before they raced’
    with object ‘two drivers raced each other through a housing estate’
    • ‘In even worse conditions on Sunday the fleet braved the elements to race round the same course.’
    • ‘A company director who raced another vehicle as he test-drove a powerful sports car has been jailed for six months.’
    • ‘High Peaks went to the front and was soon joined by Megascape as the pair raced along the backstretch noses apart.’
    • ‘Early in the season, Marlin correctly identified his team's shortcomings as qualifying and racing on road courses.’
    • ‘Fantastic Light will be one of the leading contenders for the Classic although he has never previously raced on a dirt track.’
    • ‘He has now raced round the national Course three times and his finishing figures read 1, 1, and 2.’
    • ‘The second day is a slalom event where sailors race around a short course with many turns.’
    • ‘Incredibly powerful, fast machines spit flames as they race each other over a very short, straight course.’
    • ‘Family and friends race each other and compete out on the water.’
    • ‘He last raced in an allowance over the turf at Saratoga Race Course on July 24, finishing seventh of ten runners.’
    • ‘In Time Trial you race against the clock on the games 20 different courses.’
    • ‘On the first day of the month Lester Piggott, in partnership with The Minstrel, raced to his eighth Derby victory with the Queen cheering him past the post.’
    • ‘My only concern was that it is always tricky to race on such a course against older horses.’
    • ‘The pair raced down the backstretch well clear of the rest of the field and turning into the stretch Tango for Tips put her nose in front.’
    • ‘Haafhd raced into second over three furlongs out and came galloping alongside Chorist to make his bid.’
    • ‘Police believe the driver of the car may have been racing another vehicle.’
    • ‘Now Glasgow could see new screen wars as leisure developers race with each other to build multiplexes.’
    • ‘Harris and Gage take places along the goal line, looking very much like they are about to race each other in a sprint.’
    • ‘I've never raced on a street course before, and it's going to be different variations in pavement and concrete.’
    • ‘‘This is an important test for me, because I've never raced on a road course,’ he said.’
    • ‘Now everything is geared up for a dramatic conclusion this Sunday as the sport's top riders race to the wire in search of title glory.’
    compete, take part in a race, run, contend
    compete against, have a race with, run against, be pitted against, try to beat
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Compete regularly in races as a sport or leisure activity.
      ‘next year, he raced again for the team’
      • ‘Before the VSCC's seven-year absence from Oulton, the club raced there regularly for 50 years.’
      • ‘Instantly, the Utah native fell in love with the sport and began racing soon after.’
      • ‘The horse in question, racing in India under the name China Man, was disqualified from the victory.’
      • ‘In Champ cars we race on road courses, street tracks and ovals and the guy that can cope best on all types of track will take the title.’
      • ‘He also had raced at Mountaineer Race Track and at Thistledown, riding 19 total winners.’
      • ‘Blind member Derek Pritchard, has raced regularly this year.’
      • ‘His 45 ft yacht is docked in the Hamble, and raced regularly at Cowes Week and in the Mediterranean.’
      • ‘Crump, born in Bristol when his father was racing here, was raised in the sport with superstars like Barry Briggs as role models.’
      • ‘Until 2002 Radcliffe used to be an enthusiastic regular on the European grand prix circuit, racing over a variety of distances.’
      • ‘He is still racing regularly and has no plans to retire.’
      • ‘Persian Punch first raced in the Jockey Club Cup in 1996 when he finished third.’
      • ‘For the past two years, he has run in the IRL Infinite Pro Series, where he raced strictly on oval courses.’
      • ‘Drivers race at such places for the love of the sport, and pit crews are largely a volunteer effort.’
      • ‘The dark bay son of Saint Ballado finished unplaced in both his career starts and has not raced since March 2002.’
      • ‘Petty says the group of drivers he raced with elevated the sport to a new level.’
    2. 1.2with object Prepare and enter (an animal or vehicle) for races.
      ‘he raced his three horses simply for the fun of it’
      • ‘The last time I raced a front-wheel-drive car was a Mini in 1962 so I'm very much a rank outsider which is an ideal position to be in.’
      • ‘He said he plans to race his new filly, who was consigned by Bridlewood Farm.’
      • ‘He races a horse called Thunder Time, in company with several other people.’
      • ‘Stidham conditions Culinary for owner Jack H. Smith III Thoroughbreds, which also raced her sire.’
      • ‘Basildon police are monitoring an internet website which they believe is responsible for more than 200 cruisers racing their cars at an industrial estate in the town.’
      • ‘Venetia Williams' eight-year-old has been lightly raced this season, but is a very talented mare in this company.’
      • ‘As a lad, he used to race bikes and his brother blessed him with the name of Bob-man, which has stuck like glue ever since.’
      • ‘I have Ford fans come up to me all the time and tell me they can't believe I'm out here racing this car.’
      • ‘The event had a mixture of modern and classic cars and everything from Bentleys to Formula One vehicles were raced.’
      • ‘From this was born the tradition of dragon boat racing, as people living in South China made it an annual event, racing boats to commemorate that day.’
      • ‘Derby is often viewed as a dilettante leader who would rather have been racing his horses at Newmarket than taking part in debates at Westminster.’
      • ‘Martin began racing stock cars at 15 on dirt tracks near his home in Batesville, Ark.’
      • ‘He has been racing this car for three years now and knows it inside out.’
      • ‘Roden then decided to race a car in the Ferrari Challenge Series in 2000.’
      • ‘I've always raced motorcycles in some form or another, but I've always liked drag racing.’
      • ‘The club was going to race the car, but liability issues quashed that idea for most of the members.’
      • ‘European horses are pampered and raced too lightly!’
      • ‘Black inner-city cowboys have been racing their horses at the Speedway since before even the old-timers can remember.’
      • ‘Sumek, whose family owns Lenco transmissions, has raced the car sporadically the last couple of years.’
      • ‘Whether you would rather race touring cars around Brands Hatch or hop Baja Beetles over rough dirt tracks, the choice is yours.’
  • 2no object, with adverbial Move or progress swiftly or at full speed.

    ‘I raced into the house’
    figurative ‘she spoke automatically, while her mind raced ahead’
    • ‘Eight fire engines raced to the scene and set about tackling the blaze which firefighters said covered almost 30 acres of the field.’
    • ‘Neighbours were woken by police sirens as patrol cars raced to the scene.’
    • ‘She was all jittery and her mind was racing ahead of her.’
    • ‘Quickly she burst out of her hiding place and raced off down the hall.’
    • ‘This is valuable study time when students are racing to complete AS-level courses in just nine months from the moment they enter the Sixth Form.’
    • ‘His mind was racing, full of a complex mix of worry and hope.’
    • ‘Suddenly, off on my right, James sped up and raced ahead of me.’
    • ‘As members of staff carried out CPR, an ambulance raced to the scene.’
    • ‘Just getting a teen to stop racing from activity to activity for a few minutes of quiet reading can be difficult.’
    • ‘Asca then raced into a two-goal lead within 10 minutes when David O ' Callaghan and Emmet Daly scored.’
    • ‘Aidan sprang to his feet and raced off down the hallway.’
    • ‘Ben Black raced clear to score in the corner and added another three minutes later.’
    • ‘If the science is moving slowly, the courts are racing ahead.’
    • ‘The entanglement of law and medicine is not new, but scientific progress is racing past our law.’
    • ‘Angel didn't hesitate, just changed course quickly and raced towards him.’
    • ‘I raced down the street, turning at the first alley to my right.’
    • ‘As if to make up for the sluggishness in his body, his mind was racing along at double speed.’
    • ‘Billingham started the brightest, racing into a two-goal lead in the first period.’
    • ‘Her mind raced, her eyes moving over the possible hiding places.’
    • ‘During the few minutes of the attacks, survival thoughts raced through my head.’
    • ‘He turned on his heel and raced back up the stairs.’
    • ‘Jeff and Kelli laughed, then raced out of the room.’
    hurry, dash, run, rush, sprint, bolt, dart, gallop, career, charge, shoot, hurtle, hare, bound, fly, speed, zoom, go hell for leather, pound, streak, scurry, scuttle, scamper, scramble, make haste, hasten, lose no time, spank along, really move
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Operate or cause to operate at excessive speed.
      no object ‘the truck came to rest against a tree with its engine racing’
      • ‘While sitting on the bike and racing the engine, he felt the motorcycle accidentally slipping into gear.’
      • ‘Kevin's Kurdish driver, Adnan, had raced his engine and clogged up the carburetor of his Nissan.’
      • ‘The driver simply races the engine, trying harder to get away.’
    2. 2.2no object (of a person's heart or pulse) beat faster than usual because of fear or excitement.
      • ‘He took a step forward, his heart racing with excitement and fear.’
      • ‘She looked towards the door, her heart racing with fear.’
      • ‘My heart raced again as I felt his bare knee touching my own.’
      • ‘I slid to the ground, my heart racing and the adrenaline pulsing through my system.’
      • ‘My stomach didn't jump and I wasn't excited, but my pulse was racing with nervousness.’
      • ‘My heart is racing, from excitement and the first 2-mile climb.’
      • ‘My temples are thumping, my pulse is racing, and I'm starting to shake, visibly.’
      • ‘I stopped pacing and started running feebly, my heart now racing in fear, the sounds in the woods growing incredibly loud and frightening.’
      • ‘Isabella watched him curiously as she stood across from him, her pulse and heart racing.’
      • ‘But imagine being in a situation where out of the blue, your heart starts racing so fast that it can't pump blood around your body properly.’
      • ‘Deep blue eyes stare at me, cold and hard, and my heart is racing with fear.’
      • ‘Steven's heard raced, of course someone would have mentioned this!’
      • ‘Call if your child feels as if his heart is racing or skipping a beat.’
      • ‘The patient explained that she was not really nervous - she just could not quit shaking, and she felt her heart racing on and off.’
      • ‘He woke up with his heart racing at 200 beats a minute and was rushed to hospital.’
      • ‘Her heart was racing, and she could feel her blood pulsing through her veins.’
      • ‘It's the sort of night that really gets your heart beating and your pulse racing.’
      • ‘Three days later, she became lightheaded, felt her heart racing, and returned to the hospital.’
      • ‘His heart was racing with excitement, and he tried to think rapidly if he had anything planned for the day.’
      • ‘I had a pain in my leg, thought nothing of it, took some aspirin, went to bed, woke up about an hour and a half later with my heart racing at about 250 beats a minute.’
      beat rapidly, pound, throb, pulsate, pulse, thud, thump, hammer, palpitate, flutter, pitter-patter, go pit-a-pat, quiver, vibrate, pump, pant, thrill
      View synonyms

Phrases

  • be at the races

    • informal usually with negativeCompeting with a chance of success.

      ‘they were never quite at the races against Rangers’
      ‘with you dressed up, none of us others will be in the race’
      • ‘As well as skill and luck, players will need fitness and endurance to be in the race for these prizes.’
  • a race against time

    • A situation in which something must be done before a particular point in time.

      ‘it was a race against time to reach shore before the dinghy sank’
      • ‘Now, they're in a race against time to keep all these people alive.’
      • ‘Insects have developed wings to help them find a mate and for mayflies the race to reproduce becomes a race against time.’
      • ‘He begins a race against time to find the real killer - fighting his way through a tangle of lies and deceit to uncover an act of evil which has destroyed the life of more than one young person.’
      • ‘It is facing a race against time, though, to secure the legislation early enough to allow local authorities to prepare for the June 10 elections.’
      • ‘Every year, after the snow melts in the mountainous regions on the border, there is a race against time to see which nation takes charge of the heights near the border.’
      • ‘At that time, she faced a race against time to find a bone marrow donor who matched her rare blood type, after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia.’
      • ‘Two young sisters with the same rare genetic illness are in a race against time after a huge fundraising effort paved the way for them to take part in a medical trial that could cure them.’
      • ‘It's a harsh countryside by anyone's standards, and for some eight million people estimated to be at risk from drought and famine in the region, it is now a race against time.’
      • ‘However, firefighters are facing a race against time with forecasters predicting that high temperatures and strong winds would return today.’
      • ‘For the students it has been a race against time.’
  • a race to (or for) the bottom

    • A situation characterized by a progressive lowering or deterioration of standards, especially (in a business context) as a result of the pressure of competition.

      ‘unsustainable tendering practices had created a race to the bottom among contractors’
      • ‘He argued it's part of politics' race to the bottom to appeal to a dumbed-down notion of middle Australia.’
      • ‘Merchants will end up competing with each other in a never-ending race to the bottom.’
      • ‘Relentless cut-throat competition has driven nearly all retailers and fast-food chains into a race to the bottom.’
      • ‘Mutual recognition could become a platform for a regulatory race to the bottom.’
      • ‘Competitive means top-notch skillset, not a race to the bottom in wages.’
      • ‘Their race to the bottom has resulted in the dirtiest per capita power generation in the country.’
      • ‘With no incentive for self-regulation the result will always be a race to the bottom.’
      • ‘We can't really compete in the race for the bottom, without our workers losing a lot.’
      • ‘The consumer has lost, because in the race for the bottom, the consumer has no real choices.’
      • ‘Retailers are engaged in a race to the bottom where customers are doubly compromised.’

Origin

Late Old English, from Old Norse rás ‘current’. It was originally a northern English word with the sense ‘rapid forward movement’, which gave rise to the senses ‘contest of speed’ (early 16th century) and ‘channel, path’ (i.e. the space traversed). The verb dates from the late 15th century.

Pronunciation

race

/reɪs/

Main definitions of race in English

: race1race2race3

race2

noun

  • 1Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

    ‘people of all races, colours, and creeds’
    • ‘America is becoming a diverse melting pot of cultures, races and ethnic groups.’
    • ‘Almost all physical differences between the races are the result of adaptation to environment.’
    • ‘They are a distinct race, being of light skin and Caucasian features.’
    • ‘We need to help find ways for nations, races and tribes to put aside differences, and join together for the good of everyone.’
    • ‘He stated that if the wide gap between the two major races continued to exist it could lead to serious threats to security and economic development.’
    • ‘Intermarriage among races over centuries accounts for the diverse physical features of Jamaicans.’
    • ‘Natural selection did not stop operating on brain genes once humanity developed into distinct races.’
    • ‘He was deriding the Anthropological Society's attempts to categorise humanity into inferior and superior races based on physical appearance.’
    • ‘I became friends with many people of different nationalities, religions, colours, races, sexual orientations and from very many different backgrounds.’
    • ‘Jews represent a group of people rather than a distinct race or ethnicity.’
    • ‘Haitians have been excluded because of their race and economic condition.’
    • ‘Music does not distinguish between races or nationalities.’
    • ‘And many issues affecting race relations and racial equality still haven't been resolved.’
    • ‘Different races clearly have different physical characteristics, but the case for a generalised superiority of one race over the other is weak.’
    • ‘We belonged to the only race on earth more arrogant and sure of itself than Swedes.’
    • ‘Many Tlingit people marry Euro-Americans, and a few marry into other races or other tribes.’
    • ‘The fact that I've grown up in an ethnically diverse society and had friends of all colours, races and religions doesn't seem to matter.’
    ethnic group, racial type, origin, ethnic origin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1mass noun The fact or condition of belonging to a racial division or group; the qualities or characteristics associated with this.
      • ‘The absence of meaningful dialogue at the national level about the role of race in teacher quality is perplexing.’
      • ‘People of mixed race are being excluded from society and face prejudice from both sides.’
      • ‘He wishes to claim that in this society sex is a more fundamental fact about people than race.’
      • ‘The report identifies wide variations in survival associated with race and ethnicity.’
      • ‘I think that America is still struggling with the question of race and racial other.’
      • ‘On the other hand, it also means that many whites simply don't know the facts about race today.’
      • ‘They belong to everyone without distinction as to sex, marital status, race or nationality.’
      • ‘Racism is the spurious belief that human characteristics and abilities are determined by race or ethnic origin.’
      • ‘The researchers also found discrepancies based on race and economic status.’
      • ‘My earliest recollection of race is seeing the racial differences between me and some of my family members.’
      • ‘It is possible that a study of gender and race might reveal that racial identity was more muted and class affinity bolder.’
      • ‘One of the men is described as possibly Asian, or mixed race with a pale complexion.’
      • ‘In particular they need young men and people from ethnic minorities and mixed race to join.’
      • ‘The term racial discrimination denotes all forms of differential behaviour based on race.’
      • ‘People of European origin, Asians, and people of mixed race enjoy the best standard of living.’
      • ‘I'd raised a little hell about the way the newspaper identified people by race.’
      • ‘Like gender, race and racial discourse played a key role in the health discourse.’
      • ‘We found, in fact, that the teachers repeatedly shifted the focus from race to socioeconomic status.’
      • ‘He persistently locates race and racial identity within the social relations of production between groups.’
      • ‘The punishments for violating the statute did not vary by condition, but by race and gender.’
      ethnic group, racial type, origin, ethnic origin
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group.
      ‘we Scots were a bloodthirsty race then’
      • ‘We Scots might be handsome but, as a race, we're not renowned for our height.’
      • ‘We are trying to find out why the British as a race find it amazingly funny to take their clothes off.’
      • ‘For Barres, this constituted a menace to the French nation, indeed to the French race, for it was a German ideology.’
      • ‘Christina had thought the German Swiss a hard unsympathetic race.’
      • ‘They sought to weld the country's diverse ethnicities into a Brazilian race defined in historical and cultural terms.’
      people, nation
      ethnic group, racial type, origin, ethnic origin
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A group or set of people or things with a common feature or features.
      ‘the upper classes thought of themselves as a race apart’
      • ‘He rejected environmental factors and claimed to have discovered a race of ‘born criminals’, who were marked out by certain cranial and facial irregularities.’
      • ‘As a matter of fact isn't ‘redneck’ a word used in disdain to describe a race and class of people?’
      • ‘They are not a race apart - it could happen to any one of us at any time.’
      • ‘They treat the elderly like they treat travellers or gays or ethnic groups or women or whoever as a race apart, not as normal citizens.’
      • ‘And the Kembles, as one Victorian novelist's daughter observed, strode through the world as a race apart.’
      • ‘Forget stockies or naturally reproducing brown trout, saltwater sea trout are a race apart.’
      • ‘This sedentary behaviour is apparently turning our kids into a race of slothful fatties who risk a reduced lifespan and other problems.’
      group, type, sort, class, kind, variety, ilk, genre, cast, style, brand, vintage, order, breed, species, generation
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4Biology A population within a species that is distinct in some way, especially a subspecies.
      ‘people have killed so many tigers that two races are probably extinct’
      • ‘They find two distinct races of the gallfly, due to the adoption of a new host species of goldenrod.’
      • ‘The Mendelian genetics of mimetic color patterns in Heliconius have been well studied using crosses between races and species.’
      • ‘One accepted phylogeny classifies Rheidae as a family, with two species and several races.’
      • ‘This may be due, at least in part, to the differential sampling of races in the two subspecies, or it may reflect a real difference in allele frequencies.’
      • ‘Based on these specimens, the races of two species of buttonquail were revised and five new subspecies described.’
      • ‘Specimens identified as three separate species, based primarily on filament diameter and cell size, were determined to be polyploid races of a single species.’
    5. 1.5 (in non-technical use) each of the major divisions of living creatures.
      ‘a member of the human race’
      ‘the race of birds’
      • ‘The human race no longer adapts through natural selection.’
      • ‘If only we could love one another and become as one in a race called humankind.’
      • ‘We're building a huge online database of how the human race looks at life, how it works, thinks and responds.’
      • ‘As humans we have eaten animals since the race began.’
      • ‘From very early on in my childhood - four, five years old - I felt alien to the human race.’
      • ‘We'll be able to take a few little genes in a test tube, wipe out the human race or all other species.’
      • ‘There are billions of people who are more than willing to do their part to propagate the human race.’
      • ‘There is also no scientific evidence known to me that the genetic differences we do discover among the human races have any influence at all on personality.’
      • ‘What is the critical mass of humanity that it will take for all of the human race to evolve to its next level?’
      • ‘God would also notice how the human race is destroying the life support system of the planet.’
      • ‘As for biodiversity, the most important species threatened with extinction today is the human race.’
      • ‘The human race is populous enough without trying to preserve every single life.’
      • ‘The ultimate goal of work is to provide a decent life for all members of the human race.’
      • ‘The race of plants, and the race of animals shrink under this great restrictive law.’
      • ‘Here we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family.’
      • ‘More than that, it was the first attempt to apply evolution explicitly to the human race.’
      • ‘But it is a challenge for the human race to evolve into the next stage of our spiritual development.’
      • ‘That's merely a convention I decided upon as a means of differentiating humans from other races.’
      • ‘Penelope plays Harriet Jones, who becomes caught up in an alien plot to bring about the end of the human race.’
      • ‘Individuals possess these capacities in varying degrees, but they are part of the universal genetic inheritance of the human race.’
    6. 1.6literary A group of people descended from a common ancestor.
      ‘a prince of the race of Solomon’
      • ‘These racists believed that not all races of humans had descended from Adam and Eve.’
      family, line, lineage, house, dynasty, stock, blood, folk, clan, tribe
      View synonyms
    7. 1.7archaic mass noun Ancestry.
      ‘two coursers of ethereal race’

Usage

In recent years, the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the use of the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts, it is now often replaced by other words which are less emotionally charged, such as people(s) or community

Origin

Early 16th century (denoting a group with common features): via French from Italian razza, of unknown ultimate origin.

Pronunciation

race

/reɪs/

Main definitions of race in English

: race1race2race3

race3

noun

dated
  • A ginger root.

    • ‘This was the only race with clear root injuries and chlorosis of the leaves, both commonly regarded as symptoms of Al toxicity.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French rais, from Latin radix, radic- ‘root’.

Pronunciation

race

/reɪs/