Definition of Uncle Tom in US English:

Uncle Tom


North American
offensive, derogatory
  • 1A black man considered to be excessively obedient or servile to white people.

    • ‘And at the same time, speaking to black America, he branded Frazier an Uncle Tom, turning him into an object of derision and scorn.’
    • ‘I believe that in the old world of civil rights you'd be termed an Uncle Tom.’
    • ‘Stewart says that he is being called an Uncle Tom by gay blacks.’
    • ‘‘I am not an Uncle Tom,’ he insisted, showing how deeply that taunt had cut him over the years.’
    • ‘Obviously his family, his coming from a black family, it was easier for them to shout treason, or call him an Uncle Tom and consequently has family too might be affected.’
    • ‘Their families moved north during the 1920s, and each was derided as an Uncle Toms during the militant 1960s.’
    • ‘As for Johnson's calling his brother an Uncle Tom, Tiki Barber said: ‘That just proves to me what kind of person he is.’’
    • ‘Look at my work on civil rights and you'll see I'm the opposite of an Uncle Tom.’
    • ‘Thurgood Marshall said, ‘All Cole needs to complete his role as an Uncle Tom is a banjo.’’
    • ‘I expect him to be an Uncle Tom, but his statements were fairly balanced.’
    • ‘He better hope that, because Lowery pretty much called anyone who would vote for him an Uncle Tom.’
    • ‘But once upon a time in the 19th century, someone who had been called an Uncle Tom would not have been insulted - he would have taken it as a compliment of the highest order.’
    • ‘Huey Freeman of ‘Boondocks’ has always been an Uncle Tom.’
    • ‘Some decried him as an Uncle Tom, but no American of the Fifties - not Chuck Berry or Harry Belafonte - did more to unite black and white.’
    • ‘And if you're a black man, they'll call you sometimes, an Uncle Tom, or they'll say that you've fallen for the white man's religion.’
    • ‘White pols want you to run, but white voters forget to vote for you, while black voters figure you're an Uncle Tom.’
    • ‘To promote their fights, the champ explained to the New York Times, he had called Frazier an Uncle Tom and even likened him to a gorilla.’
    • ‘It really is easy to be racist when you've got black people doing the racism for you, when you've got some Uncle Toms, if you like.’
    • ‘He was a cartoon, an offensive stereotype, an Uncle Tom, the literary creation of a white author with an obvious regional agenda.’
    • ‘He was awful to Joe Frazier, making him out to be an Uncle Tom.’
    1. 1.1 A person regarded as betraying their cultural or social allegiance.
      ‘he called moderates Uncle Toms’


Mid 19th century (first referring to an enslaved black man): from the name of the hero of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852), an anti-slavery novel by the American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Uncle Tom

/ˌəŋkəl ˈtɑm//ˌəNGkəl ˈtäm/