AskDefine | Define mongoloid

Dictionary Definition

mongoloid adj
1 characteristic of or resembling a Mongol; "the mongoloid epicanthic fold"
2 of or pertaining to or characteristic of one of the traditional racial division of humankind including especially peoples of central and eastern Asia
3 of or relating to or suffering from Down Syndrome; "a mongoloid child"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A member of the racial classification of humanity composed of peoples native to North Asia, East Asia, Pacific Oceania, the Americas and Greenland, as well as their diaspora in other parts of the world.


Extensive Definition

The term "Mongoloid" is a variation of the word "Mongol", meaning "Mongol-like". It has been coined as a racial category to describe the distinctive appearance of East Asian peoples . Today it is most used in discussions of human prehistory, historical definitions of race and in the forensic analysis of human remains. The concept's existence is based on a now disputed typological method of racial classification. In forensics, Mongoloid is considered a skull type that is used to determine the probable soft-tissue reconstruction of discovered human remains. The -oid racial terms are now often controversial in both technical and non-technical contexts and may sometimes give offense no matter how they are used. This is especially true of "Mongoloid" because it has also been used as a synonym for persons with Down Syndrome, and in American English as a generic insult meaning "idiot". Contrarily to popular beliefs, Mongoloid refers to diverse ethnical groups, instead of a homogenous group.

Populations included

The term comes from the Mongolian people of East Asia, who had a reputation in Europe for ruthless expansionism and massacre of enemy populations. The first usage of the term "Mongolian race" was by Christoph Meiners in a "binary racial scheme" of "two races" with the Caucasian whose racial purity was exemplified by the "venerated... ancient Germans" with some Europeans being impure "dirty whites" and "Mongolians" who consisted of everyone else. The term "Mongolian" was borrowed from Meiners by Johann Blumenbach to describe "second [race], [which] includes that part of Asia beyond the Ganges and below the river Amoor [Amur], which looks toward the south, together with the islands and the greater part of these countries which is now called Australian." In 1861, Isid Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire added the "Australian" as a "secondary race" (subrace) of the "principal race" of "Mongolian" In the nineteenth century Georges Cuvier used the term "Mongolian" again as a racial classification, but additionally included American Indians under the term. Later, Thomas Huxley used the term "Mongoloid" and included American Indians as well as Arctic Native Americans. Other nomenclatures were proposed, such as "Mesochroi" (middle color), but "Mongoloid" was widely adopted. In 1915, "anthropologist Arthur de Gobineau" defined the extent of the "Mongolian" race, "by the yellow the Altaic, Mongol, Finnish and Tartar branches." In the 20th century, Carleton S. Coon used the term and included Pacific Islanders. In 1983, Futuyma claimed that the inclusion of Native Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Mongoloid race was not recognized by "many anthropologists" who consider them "distinct races". For example, in 1984, Roger J. Lederer Professor of Biological Sciences separately listed the "Mongoloid" race from Pacific islanders and American Indians when he enumerated the "geographical varients of the same species known as races...we recognize several races Eskimos, American Indians, Mongoloid... Polynesian". Another term was introduced by noted ethnologist Dr.MWSpanakos of New York City, the usage of "Mongolasian", and has gain great popularity.


In 1865, Thomas Huxley presented the views of polygenecists of which Huxley was not as "some imagine their assumed species of mankind were created where we find them... the Mongolians from the Orangs."
In 1897, WEB DuBois, sociologist and historian, said, "[t]he final word of science, so far, is that we have at least two perhaps three, great families of human beings -- the whites and Negroes, possibly the yellow race [he calls this "Mongolian" later]
In 1972, Carleton Coon claimed, "[f]rom a hyborean [sic] group there evolved, in northern Asia, the ancestral strain of the entire specialized mongoloid family." In 1962, Coon believed that the Mongoloid "subspecies" existed "during most of the Pleistocene, from 500,000 to 10,000 years ago". According to Coon, the Mongoloid race had not completed its "invasions and expansions" into Southeast Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific Islands until "[t]oward the end of the Pleistocene"
Dr. T. Tirado claims that "many experts" consider American Indians and East Asians to be descended from a "Proto-Mongoloid" population which existed as late as 12,000 years ago. See also: Models of migration to the New World
Futuyma believes the Mongoloid race "diverged 41,000 years ago" from a Mongoloid and Caucasoid group which diverged from Negroids "110,000 years ago''".
A 2006 study of linkage disequilibrium finds that northern populations in East Asia started to expand in number between 34 and 22 thousand years ago (KYA), before the last glacial maximum at 21–18 KYA, while southern populations started to expand between 18 and 12 KYA, but then grew faster, and suggests that the northern populations expanded earlier because they could exploit the abundant megafauna of the ‘‘Mammoth Steppe,’’ while the southern populations could increase in number only when a warmer and more stable climate led to more plentiful plant resources such as tubers.


Bhavan identifies Northeast India Mongoloids to be a subrace called the "Paleo-Mongoloid", being the "dominant element in the tribes living in Assam and the Indo-Burmese frontiers... Sikkim and Bhutan... [and] Tibetan mongoloids"
In 1900, Joseph Deniker said, the "Mongol race admits two varieties or subraces: Tunguse or Northern Mongolian... and Southern Mongolian" Archaeologist Peter Bellwood claims that the "vast majority" of people in Southeast Asia, the region he calls the "clinal Mongoloid-Australoid zone", are "Southern Mongoloids" but have a "high degree" of Australoid admixture. Ainus are considered Southern Mongoloids even though they live in East Asia. Traits may vary, because of climatic variance and racial admixture within certain groups.

Proto Mongoloids

The physical features of the "Proto-Mongoloid" were characterized as, "a straight-haired type, medium in complexion, jaw protrusion, nose-breadth, and incliniing probably to round-headedness". Kanzō Umehara considers the Ainu and Ryukyuans to have "preserved their proto-Mongoloid traits".

Variation in traits between groups

Variation in traits can be rather considerable between certain groups due to climatic variation, the most apparent of these differences concern the shape of the skull, the constitution of the body and the colour of the skin.


Questionable usefulness

Geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza claims that there is a genetic division between East and Southeast Asians. In a like manner, Zhou Jixu agrees that there is a physical difference between these two populations. Other geneticists have found evidence for three separate populations, carrying distinct sets of non-recombining Y chromosome lineages, within the traditional Mongoloid category: North Asians, Han Chinese/Southeast Asians, and Japanese. The complexity of genetic data have led to doubt about the usefulness of the concept of a Mongoloid race itself, since distinctive East Asian features may represent separate lineages and arise from environmental adaptations or retention of common proto-Eurasian ancestral characteristics.

Down's Syndrome

Since people with Down syndrome may appear to have epicanthic folds, the condition was formerly called "Mongol" or "Mongoloid Idiocy" Mistakenly, John Langdon Down, for whom the syndrome was named, claimed in his book Observations on the Ethnic Classification of Idiots (1866), that the Mongol-like features represented an alleged evolutionary degeneration when manifested in Caucasoids. Though this view was discounted in the 20th century, the use of the term "Mongoloid" for racial purposes has acquired offensive connotations because of the connection with Down syndrome.


mongoloid in Czech: Mongoloidní rasa
mongoloid in German: Mongolide
mongoloid in Spanish: Mongoloide
mongoloid in Persian: نژاد زرد
mongoloid in French: Race jaune
mongoloid in Indonesian: Ras Mongoloid
mongoloid in Italian: Mongoloide
mongoloid in Lithuanian: Mongolidai
mongoloid in Macedonian: Монголоидна раса
mongoloid in Japanese: モンゴロイド
mongoloid in Polish: Żółta rasa człowieka
mongoloid in Portuguese: Amarelos
mongoloid in Russian: Монголоидная раса
mongoloid in Slovak: Mongoloidná rasa
mongoloid in Finnish: Mongolidi
mongoloid in Ukrainian: Монголоїдна раса
mongoloid in Vietnamese: Đại chủng Á
mongoloid in Chinese: 黃色人種

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

arrested, babbling, backward, blithering, burbling, crackbrained, cracked, crazy, cretinistic, cretinous, dithering, driveling, drooling, half-baked, half-witted, idiotic, imbecile, imbecilic, maundering, mentally defective, mentally deficient, mentally handicapped, mentally retarded, moronic, not all there, retarded, simple, simpleminded, simpletonian, slobbering, subnormal
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