Race Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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From triathlons and fun runs to NASCAR and the 400 IM, there’s no shortage of competitive races that are held all around the globe. That said, the word “race” doesn’t only refer to a competition— it refers to human categorization, too. Confused? Not to worry, we’re here to elp.

In this article, we’re exploring the word “race” to uncover its many definitions, proper usage, and more. So if you’ve ever wondered what this common homonym means — keep reading.

What Is the Definition of Race?


According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the noun race can be defined as a competition in which all the competitors try to be the fastest so that they can finish first. For example, “let’s have a running race.”

When used as a verb, the Collins Dictionary says “race” means to engage in a contest of speed. For example, “to run a race.”

The word race can also be used as a variable noun, where it refers to one of the major groups which the human species can be divided into according to their physical features — such as the color of their skin. 

What Is the Difference Between Race and Ethnicity?

The definition of race and ethnicity are related to biological and sociological factors, respectively. As mentioned previously, race refers to an individual’s physical characteristics, such as skin color, hair, bone structure, and eye color. 

On the flip side, ethnicity refers to cultural factors, including regional culture, nationality, ancestry, and language. 

What Are Examples of Different Races?

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) identifies five minimum race categories:

  • White or Caucasian
  • African American or Black
  • Asian
  • Alaska Native or American Indian
  • Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Race?

If you’re still a little confused about the meaning behind our word of the day, you might find it helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms. What are synonyms and antonyms, you ask? 

Simply put, a synonym is a word or phrase that means the same or nearly the same as another word or phrase, whereas an antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of another word.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the synonyms and antonyms of race.

Synonyms of race include:

  • Sprint
  • Chase 
  • Dash
  • Relay
  • Competition
  • Scurry
  • Head to head
  • Competitive event
  • Performance 
  • Battle royal
  • Game
  • Matchup
  • Tourney
  • Sports meeting
  • Tournament
  • Time trial
  • Confrontation
  • Prizefight 
  • One on one
  • Sporting competition
  • Athletic event
  • Challenge
  • Racial categories 
  • Engagement 
  • Origin 
  • Heritage
  • Genome 
  • Biological basis 
  • Background
  • Line of descent
  • Cultural group
  • Ethnic origin
  • Ethnic group
  • Family tree
  • Racial type
  • Racial type
  • Ancestral tree
  • Genealogical tree
  • Genealogical chart 
  • Birthplace
  • Family history
  • Dynasty
  • Breeding
  • Racial identity 
  • History
  • Genetic variation 
  • Family
  • Clan
  • Kin
  • Lineage
  • Ancestry 
  • Subspecies 

Antonyms of race include:

  • Dawdle
  • Delay
  • Drag one’s feet
  • Dally
  • Linger
  • Crawl
  • Take one’s time
  • Walk slowly
  • Loiter
  • Tarry
  • Procrastinate
  • Slow
  • Rest
  • Slow down
  • Stall
  • Wait
  • Exhibition
  • Practice
  • Demonstration
  • Demo
  • Session
  • Practice game
  • Training session
  • Session
  • Rehearsal
  • Run through
  • Showcase
  • Workout
  • Practice match
  • Individual 
  • One
  • Refusal
  • Closure
  • Denial
  • Change
  • Deviation
  • Shift
  • Retreat
  • Backtracking
  • Receding 
  • Nonrelative 
  • Nonfamily 

How Can You Use “Race” in a Sentence?

Now that you understand the meaning of race, you might be wondering how to use it in a sentence. Below, you’ll find a handful of great sentence examples for you to review:

“Look Tom; it’s not a race… finish at your own pace.”

“Tyra isn’t only of mixed race, but she’s native American, too.”

“If it comes down to it, the United States will always win in an arms race.”

“I can’t stand racism… if you ask me, all races are beautiful.”

“The horse race was a nail-biter yesterday!”

“Biologists look at hair texture and facial features like eye shape when studying different races.”

“If you’re looking to join the 5K next weekend, you’re going to need to speak with Race Relations.”

What Are Translations of Race?

As we have discussed throughout this article, race can be defined in a variety of ways! From a certain group of human beings to a contest of speed or even as a verb meaning to run or race against — race can be a very versatile word. 

Below you will find translations of race in its various forms so you can converse with friends from all over the globe about your newfound knowledge on our word of the day — race:

Translations of race are defined as a contest of speed:

  • American English — race
  • Arabic — سِبَاق 
  • Brazilian Portuguese — corrida 
  • Chinese (simplified) — 赛跑 
  • Croatian — utrka 
  • Czech — závod 
  • Danish — væddeløb 
  • Dutch — ras 
  • Japanese — レース 競争
  • Korean— 경주 
  • Norwegian — kappløp 
  • Polish — wyścig 
  • British English — race
  • European Portuguese — corrida 
  • Romanian — competiție
  • Russian — состязание в беге или в скорости 
  • Spanish — carrera deporte
  • Swedish — kapptävling släkte
  • Thai — การแข่งความเร็ว
  • Turkish — yarış 
  • Ukrainian — перегони
  • Vietnamese — cuộc đua
  • European Spanish — carrera, deporte
  • Finnish — nopeuskilpailu 
  • French — course 
  • German — Wettrennen 
  • Greek — κούρσα 
  • Italian — corsa

Translations of race defined as a group of people related by common heredity or descent:

  • American English — race 
  • Arabic — جَنْس 
  • Brazilian Portuguese — raça 
  • Chinese — 种族 
  • Croatian — rasa 
  • Czech — rasa 
  • Danish — race 
  • Japanese — 品種 
  • Korean— 인종 
  • Norwegian — rase 
  • Polish — rasa, socjologia
  • European Portuguese — raça 
  • Romanian — rasă
  • Russian — раса 
  • Spanish — raza, etnia
  • Swedish — ras, släkte
  • Thai — เชื้อชาติ 
  • Turkish — ırk 
  • British English — race
  • Ukrainian — раса
  • Vietnamese — chủng tộc
  • Dutch — race, afkomst
  • European Spanish — raza, etnia
  • Finnish — rotu ihmisen
  • French — race 
  • German — Rasse 
  • Greek — φυλή 
  • Italian — razza


To sum it all up, race means to move quickly or speed. It can also be defined as a speed contest to see who can cross the finish line first. But that’s not all; race can also refer to a genetic grouping, as in we are all members of the human race.


Race definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 

race | Definition, Ideologies, Constructions, & Facts | Britannica 

RACE Definition | The Cambridge English Dictionary 

Measuring Racial and Ethnic Diversity for the 2020 Census | Census