It is well known that in Iranian languages airiia- / airya- had a clear ethnic meaning which is reflected in the modern name of the country Iran.
However, in Sanskrit, this word had a more general meaning: ‘a good worthy family man who respects the traditions of his country, who is a good housekeeper and duly performs the rites of yajña’:
This is how ārya is translated in the MW dictionary:
(H1) ā́rya [p= 152,2] [L=26533] m. (fr. aryá , √ṛ) , a respectable or honourable or faithful man , an inhabitant of āryāvarta
[L=26534] one who is faithful to the religion of his country
[L=26535] N. of the race which immigrated from Central Asia into āryāvarta (opposed to an-ārya , dasyu , dāsa)
[L=26536] in later times N. of the first three castes (opposed to śūdra) RV. AV. VS. MBh. Ya1jn5. Pan5cat. &c
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