Not until the 16th century did the word "race" enter into the English language, from the French "race" - "race, breed, lineage" (which in turn was probably a loan from the Italian "razza"). Meanings of the term in the 16th century included "wines with a characteristic flavour", "people with common occupation", and "generation". A meaning of "tribe" or "nation" emerged in the 17th century. The modern meaning, "one of the major divisions of mankind", dates to the late 18th century, but it never became exclusive (note the continued use of the expression "the human race"). The ultimate origin of the word is unknown; suggestions include Arabic ra'is meaning "head", but also "beginning" or "origin".
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