1. Having color: colored tissue paper.
2. also Colored Often Offensive
a. Of or belonging to a racial group not categorized as white.
b. Black or African-American.
c. Of mixed racial descent.
3. often Coloured South African Of or belonging to a population grouping made up of persons of mixed racial descent or of certain other nonwhite descent, especially as distinguished during apartheid from blacks, Asians, or whites.
4. Distorted or biased, as by irrelevant or incorrect information.
n. pl. colored or coloreds
1. also Colored Offensive
a. A person belonging to a racial group not categorized as white.
b. A black person, especially an African American.
c. A person of mixed racial descent.
2. often Coloured South African A person belonging to the Coloured population grouping, especially during apartheid.
3. coloreds Pieces of laundry that are not light in color.
Usage Note: As a racial label, colored can simply mean nonwhite, but in the United States it has generally been restricted to persons of African descent. Though once a preferred term among black Americans, it lost favor as the 20th century progressed, and its use today is usually taken to be offensive. · In South Africa, where it is spelled Coloured, it has generally been used to refer to persons of mixed racial descent as opposed to those of unmixed black African, Asian, or European origin. Its use as an official ethnic label ended when apartheid was dismantled in 1991. See Usage Note at person of color.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus