Etymology
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Hispanic (adj.)

"pertaining to Spain" (especially ancient Spain) 1580s, from Latin Hispanicus, from Hispania "Iberian Peninsula," from Hispanus "Spaniard" (see Spaniard). Specific application to Spanish-speaking parts of the New World is from 1889, American English; since c. 1972 especially applied to Spanish-speaking persons of Latin American descent living in the U.S. As a noun meaning "Hispanic person" from 1972.

updated on July 17, 2015

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Definitions of Hispanic from WordNet
1
Hispanic (n.)
an American whose first language is Spanish;
Synonyms: Spanish American / Hispanic American
2
Hispanic (adj.)
related to a Spanish-speaking people or culture;
Synonyms: Latino
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.