Definition of Eskimo noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈeskɪməʊ//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈeskɪmoʊ//
(pl. Eskimo, Eskimos) (sometimes offensive)
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a member of a race of people from northern Canada, and parts of Alaska, Greenland and Siberia. Some of these people prefer to use the name Inuit. compare Inuit Word Originan Algonquian word, perhaps in the sense ‘people speaking a different language’. CultureInuitsInuits are a related group of peoples found in Alaska, and also in Canada and Greenland. They are thought to have come into North America from Siberia many thousands of years ago. In both the US and Britain they used to be called Eskimos but the name Inuit which means 'the people' is now usually used and is preferred by many of the people themselves. It is the name always used in Canada. The plural form is Inuits or Inuit. Although they live in small isolated communities, Inuits have a strong cultural identity and share the Inuit language. Other native peoples of Alaska include Aleuts, who come from the Aleutian Islands to the west of Alaska, the Tlingits and the Haida.Many American and British people still think of Inuits as wearing animal skins and furs, living in igloos (= houses made of ice), and eating raw fish which they catch from a kayak or through a hole in the ice. The traditional life of Inuits involved travelling from place to place, fishing and hunting animals, including seals, whales and caribou (= a type of large deer).As in the case of Native American peoples, the traditional way of life of the Inuit has been changed a great deal by the activities of other Americans. In particular, damage to the environment makes it hard for native Alaskans to find enough of their traditional foods. Many now live in permanent settlements which have schools and other facilities. They still live by hunting and fishing but instead of a sledge (AmE sled) pulled by dogs they may use a snowmobile (= a special car that can travel over snow) or a motor boat, and have guns and other modern equipment.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: Eskimo

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