n. An English dialect specific to African-Americans, particularly one influenced by West African and Caribbean language patterns.
Also Seen As
The subject of ebonics was swept onto the national stage this week when the Oakland school board unanimously approved a districtwide policy to recognize black English as a full-fledged language. District officials say ebonics will not be taught, but teachers will be instructed to respect the language and help children learn how to translate it into standard English.
—Thaai Walker, “How Teachers Use Ebonics,” The San Francisco Chronicle, December 21, 1996
District administrators admitted that not enough is being done for black students who come to school speaking a nonstandard English learned at home, known as Ebonics, which most researchers now recognize as a separate oral language with its own rules of grammar and structure.
—David Smollar, “School board grapples with black-language issue,” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1989
1973 (earliest)
Professor Baird's views were echoed by Professor Ernie Smith, a linguistic professor from the University of California, who said that much of the study of black speech had been made through a "white prism." The result, he said, [is] "black English." which has negative connotations for blacks.

He offered another term for the developing lexicon when he suggested the study of "ebonics," which he said viewed the speech patterns of black American as they relate to Caribbean and African blacks rather than to white Americans.
—Ronald Smothers, “Black Studies Get 'New Lexicon',” The New York Times, March 10, 1973