One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1dated Relating to the broad division of humankind including the indigenous peoples of eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic region of North America.
2Having Down syndrome.
1dated A person belonging to the division of humankind including the indigenous peoples of eastern Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic region of North America.
2A person with Down syndrome.
The term mongol, or Mongoloid, was adopted in the late 19th century to refer to a person with Down syndrome, owing to the similarity of some of the physical symptoms of the disorder with the normal facial characteristics of eastern Asian people. The syndrome itself was thus called mongolism. In modern English, this use of mongol (and related forms) is unacceptable and is considered offensive. In scientific, as well as in most general contexts, mongolism has been replaced by the term Down syndrome (first recorded in the early 1960s) The terms Mongoloid, Negroid, Caucasoid, and Australoid were introduced by 19th-century anthropologists attempting to classify human racial types, but today they are recognized as having very limited validity as scientific categories. Although occasionally used when making broad generalizations about the world's populations, in most modern contexts they are potentially offensive, especially when used of individuals. The names of specific peoples or nationalities should be used instead wherever possible
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