"person born in a country but of a people not indigenous to it," c. 1600, from French créole (17c.), from Spanish criollo "(person) native to a locality," from Portuguese crioulo, diminutive of cria "person (especially a servant) raised in one's house," from criar "to raise or bring up," from Latin creare "to make, bring forth, produce, beget," from PIE root *ker- (2) "to grow."
The exact sense varies with local use. Fowler (1926) writes: "Creole does not imply mixture of race, but denotes a person either of European or (now rarely) of negro descent born and naturalized in certain West Indian and American countries." In U.S. use, applied to descendants of French and Spanish settlers in Louisiana from at least 1792. Of languages, from 1879. As an adjective, from 1748.
updated on May 07, 2018