1. (most common usage) The supposed "white" master race. This recent mutilation of the meaning of "Aryan" was first caused by anti-Semitism (prejudice against Jews or Judaism
). Some early Christian scholars made up the idea of an Aryan race (no evidence, just theories based on their own prejudices) as a means of separating themselves from their Jewish heritage (Christianity
began as an extremist Jewish sect). They wanted to believe that they descended from different people than the Jews because of differing religious beliefs (ignoring that fact the old testament of the Christian bible is really just an idealized translation of the Torah, or Jewish Hebrew bible).
This idea of an "Aryan" race was strongly embraced by Germans as nationalism
united the many weak and divided states into a single German nation (during the 19th century). We all know were things went from there (during the early 20th century), with Adolf Hitler using this German superiority complex to assist in gaining power and then blaming all of Germany's problems on non "Aryans". Many hundreds of thousands of people have suffered from this fallacy. There is no such thing as an "Aryan" race. The idea that "Aryans" where outsiders who came into India to conquer the natives is also unproven. People just believed this because of wishful thinking and not proof. This pompous
eventually led to widespread false use of "Aryan" by Nazis and other racists as the supposed "white" master race (this racism needs to stop).
2. Many religions (including Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus) use Aryan as a title for a person who is noble and/or spiritual. In Buddhist teachings for instance, someone can be Aryan, no matter what race they are, by being noble, good natured, righteous in behavior, etc... Likewise Aryan status is lost by not living up to this code of conduct.
3. (obsolete) Aryan was once used to refer to the people (not race) who spoke the original Indo-Europe language/s, but that term has been replaced by PIEs, or Proto-Indo-Europeans.
Racist "white supremacists" should technically be called delusional morons, not Aryans.