The demonyms Latino and Latina (feminine) are defined as:
* "a person of Latin-American or Spanish-speaking descent."cite web |url= |title= Latino - Definitions from |accessdate=2008-03-03 |publisher=Lexico Publishing Group, LLC Definition source: Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.]
* "A Latin American."cite web |url= |title=Latino - Definitions from |accessdate=2008-03-03 |publisher=Lexico Publishing Group, LLC Definition source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.]
* "A person of Hispanic, especially Latin-American, descent, often one living in the United States."
* "a native or inhabitant of Latin America"cite web |url= |title=Latino - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary |accessdate=2008-03-03 |publisher=Merriam Webster, Incorporated]
* a Person related to or derived from the people or culture of Spain []
* "a person of Latin-American origin living in the United States"
* "someone who lives in the US and who comes from or whose family comes from Latin America"cite web |url= |title=Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press |accessdate=2008-03-03 |publisher=Cambridge University Press 2008 |work=Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary]
* "Latin inhabitant of the United States" [cite web |url= |title=Online Etymology Dictionary |accessdate=2008-08-22 |author=Harper, Douglas |year=2001 ] The two words originate in American Spanish "Latino" and "Latina" (from Latin "Latinus", "Latina"), meaning "Latin", and also possibly a clipped form of "latinoamericano", "Latin American".

In the United States, the term is in official use in the ethnonym Hispanic or Latino, defined as "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race."cite web|url=|title=Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Federal Register Notice October 30, 1997|accessdate = 2008-01-11|author=Office of Management and Budget|]

Use in the United States

The term Latino was officially adopted in 1997 by the United States Government in the ethnonym Hispanic or Latino, which replaced the single term "Hispanic".cite web
url =
title = Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. Federal Register Notice October 30, 1997
accessdate = 2008-01-11
author = Office of Management and Budget
quote =Terminology for Hispanics.--OMB does not accept the recommendation to retain the single term "Hispanic." Instead, OMB has decided that the term should be "Hispanic or Latino." Because regional usage of the terms differs -- Hispanic is commonly used in the eastern portion of the United States, whereas Latino is commonly used in the western portion -- this change may contribute to improved response rates.
(Bolding in the original)] U.S. official use of the term "Hispanic" has its origins in the 1970 census. The Census Bureau attempted to identify all Hispanics by use of the following criteria in sampled sets:cite web
url =
title = Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States
author = Gibson, Campbell
coauthor = Jung, Kay
accessdate = 2006-12-07
year = 2002
month = 09
work = Working Paper Series No. 56
] :* Spanish speakers and persons belonging to a household where Spanish was spoken:* Persons with Spanish heritage by birth location:* Persons who self-identify with Spanish ancestry or descent

Neither "Hispanic" nor "Latino" refers to a race, as a person of Latino or Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race.cite web
url =
title = U.S. Census Bureau Guidance on the Presentation and Comparison of Race and Hispanic Origin Data
accessdate = 2007-03-18
author = U.S. Census Bureau
quote = Race and Hispanic origin are two separate concepts in the federal statistical system. People who are Hispanic may be of any race. People in each race group may be either Hispanic or Not Hispanic. Each person has two attributes, their race (or races) and whether or not they are Hispanic.
] Cite web
title=Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin
author=United States Census Bureau
year=March 2001
publisher=United States Census Bureau
] Like non-Latinos, a Latino can be of a single race of the following racial categories: White/Caucasian or Black/African, Asian, Native American, or Pacific Islander. Again like non-Latinos, some may identify with more than one race, such as Mestizo (a bi-racial person of White/Caucasian and Native American descent), Mulatto (a person of White/Caucasian and Black/African American descent), Zambo (a person of Native American and Black/African American descent) or any other race or combination.

Although as officially defined in the United States Census, the "Hispanic" category does not include Brazilian Americans, and "specifically" refers to "Spanish culture or origin" however Brazil is part of Latin America so some of the dictionary definitions may include them and/or Brazilians as Latinos in general. Furthermore, Hispanic or Latino origin is, like race, a matter of self-identification in the US, and government and non-government questionnaires, including the census form, [ [ U.S. Census form] U.S. Census Bureau. See question 7] usually contain a blank entry space wherein respondents can indicate a Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin other than the few (Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban) which are specified; presumably, Brazilian Americans can thus self-identify as being of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity —. However, Brazilian Americans are not included with Hispanics and Latinos in the U.S government's population reports. [cite web |url= |title=B03001. Hispanic or Latino Origin by Spedific Origin |accessdate=2008-01-20 |work=2006 American Community Survey |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau]

Some authorities of American English maintain a distinction between the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino":

"Though often used interchangeably in American English, "Hispanic" and "Latino" are not identical terms, and in certain contexts the choice between them can be significant. "Hispanic", from the Latin word for "Spain," has the broader reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasizing the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common. "Latino"—which in Spanish means "Latin" but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish word "latinoamericano"—refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. Of the two, only "Hispanic" can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a "Hispanic", not a "Latino", and one cannot substitute "Latino" in the phrase "the Hispanic influence on native Mexican cultures" without garbling the meaning. In practice, however, this distinction is of little significance when referring to residents of the United States, most of whom are of Latin American origin and can theoretically be called by either word."cite web
url =
title = American Heritage Dictionary
accessdate = 2007-03-18


The term Latino is rejected by some, for various reasons. It is rejected by some indigenists who state that Native American 'Latinos' are disappropriated from their Native American origins and histories by the application of what they consider a racist, Eurocentric term [ [ Indigenous Peoples Literature ] ] Cite web
title=Mexica Movement
publisher=Mexica Movement
] that improperly associates people of different races, i.e. associating both the Spanish colonizers and the indigenous inhabitants, especially the descendants of both groups, as the same ethnic group.cite web
url =
title = The Crimes of Hispanic and Latino Racist Labels: Everything You Need To Know About The Racism Of Hispanic And Latino Labels as Applied to People of Mexican and “Central American” Descent
author = Tezcatlipoca, Olin
accessdate = 2007-03-18
] Cite web
title=The Taino People: A Jatibonicu' Taino History in Puerto Rico & New Jersey
year=June 8, 2004

imilar and related terms

In many instances "Latino" is used interchangeably with the terms "Latin" (e.g. "Latin jazz", "Latin Cuisine", [ [ McCormick Latin Cuisine Recipe Collection ] ] "Latin music", "Latin Grammy Awards") and "Latin American",cite book| title = Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives: Identity and the Politics of (Re) Presentation| author = Oboler, Suzanne| accessdate = 2007-03-18] . Latino is also defined in the English language as a "Latin inhabitant of the United States". [cite web |url= |title=Online Etymology Dictionary |accessdate=2008-06-08 |author=Douglas Harper] As a demonym, though, "Latin" can have other meanings: [cite web |url= |title=Latin - Definitions from |accessdate=2008-01-28] [cite web |url= |title=Latin - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary; Latin [2,noun] |accessdate=2008-01-28]

* "a native or inhabitant of Latium; an ancient Roman."
* "a member of any of the Latin peoples, or those speaking chiefly Romance languages, esp. a native of or émigré from Latin America."
* "a member of the Latin Church; a Roman Catholic, as distinguished from a member of the Greek Church."
* "A Latino or Latina."

"Latin American" may also not mean the same as "Latino," depending on which definition of the latter is used. A Spaniard, for example, though a "Latino" by English and Spanish definitions [] definitions (including the U.S. government definition), does not need to have Latin American heritage. The term "Latin American" is applied to inhabitants of Latin America and is also preferred by some Latino individuals and organizations in the United States, [cite web |url= |title=LULAC-League of United Latin American Citizens |accessdate=2008-03-05] [cite web |url= |title=Latin American Association |accessdate=2008-03-05] [cite web |url= |title=Latin American Youth Center |accessdate=2008-03-05] as one of ways ‘Latino’ can be used is as a shortening of the term Latin American. Another term that Latinos are defined by [] and use to self-identify is Latin, as Latino also means Latin. [] [] [] , Latin is also defined as "a member of any of the Latin peoples, or those speaking chiefly Romance languages, esp. a native of or émigré from Latin America. Although "Latino" is almost always used to refer to those from a Spanish background, the way in which the word should be used, is to refer to anyone of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, or Romanian descent. "Latin American" is defined as:

* "A native or inhabitant of Latin America."cite web |url= |title=Latin American - Definitions from |accessdate=2008-03-03 |publisher= Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. Definition source: Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.]
* "A person of Latin-American descent."

Definitions in other languages

"Latino" (feminine "Latina") in the Romance languages, such as Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish, literally translates as "Latin". Portuguese dictionaries define the demonym "Latino" to refer to natives of Romance-speaking nations influenced by Roman civilization, and to the natives or inhabitants of ancient Latium (modern Lazio). [cite web |url= |title=Dicionário de Língua Portuguesa da Porto Editora |accessdate=2008-05-01 |publisher=Porto Editora] [cite web |url= |title=UOL - Michaelis - Moderno Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa |accessdate=2008-05-01 |publisher=Editora Melhoramentos Ltda] Italian dictionaries define the demonym "Latino" as: the ancient Latins and Romans, and their language, Latin, as well as the neo-Latin nations. [cite web |url= |title=De Mauro - latino |accessdate=2008-05-01 |publisher=PARAVIA] [cite web |url= | - Dizionari |accessdate=2008-05-01 |publisher=De Agostini Scuola] The dictionary of the Real Academia Española defines ten meanings for "Latino", including the ancient peoples of Latium and the modern Romance-speaking European and American nations. [cite web |url= |title=Real Academia Española. Diccionario Usual |accessdate=2008-05-01 |publisher=Real Academia Española] In these languages, "Latino", just like any other demonym, is by convention not capitalized.

ee also

*Latino Australian
*Latino Canadian
*Latino Studies
*Latin Union
*Race and ethnicity in the United States Census
*Racial and ethnic demographics of the United States



*"The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States", 4 vls, Oxford University Press 2006, ISBN 0195156005

External links

* [ Dia De La Mujer Latina] Hispanic or Latino?
* [ Latin America Network Information Center]
* [ Latin Union]
* [ Latino Cultural Heritage Digital Archives]
* [ Latino Issues Forum] Nonprofit Public Policy and Advocacy Institute
* [] Latino Community Portal in US, Canada
* [ PBS 'A Cultural Identity'] Examines the creation of the Hispanic label by Richard Nixon.
* [ What's in a name?]

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