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Miscegenation ( / m ɪ ˌ s ɛ dʒ ɪ ˈ n eɪ ʃ ən / ; from the Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind") is the mixing of different racial groups through marriage , cohabitation , sexual relations , or procreation.  Because of the term's historical use in contexts that typically implied disapproval, more unambiguously neutral terms such as interracial , interethnic , or cross-cultural are more common in contemporary usage.
The term miscegenation has been used since the 19th century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sexual relations,  and more generally to the process of genetic admixture. Historically, the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, known as anti-miscegenation laws.  The Latin term entered historical records during European colonialism and the Age of Discovery.
Miscegenation comes from the Latin miscere , "to mix" and genus , "kind". The word was coined in the U.S. in 1863, and the etymology of the word is tied up with political conflicts during the American Civil War over the abolition of slavery and over the racial segregation of African-Americans. The reference to genus was made to emphasize the supposedly distinct biological differences between whites and non-whites, though all humans belong to the same genus , Homo , and the same species , Homo sapiens .