The term Creole is used with different meanings in different contexts, which can generate confusion. Generally it refers to a people or culture that is distinctive or local to a region, but with various additional shades of meaning. Such groups often speak a creole language, a hybrid language containing elements of at least two languages.

Latin American Creole
Generally refers to people of Spanish, Portuguese or French descent born in the New World.

New Orleans and Louisiana Creole
Refers to people of any race or mixture thereof who are descended from French or Spanish families in Louisiana before it became part of the USA in 1803, or to the culture and cuisine typical of these people. Some writers from other parts of the USA have mistakenly assumed the term to refer only to people of mixed racial decent, but this is not the traditional Louisiana usage. In fact the traditional usage excluded African lineage. However, it is now accepted that Creole is a broad ethnic group of people of all races who share a French or Spanish background.

Alaska Creole
People of mixed Native American and European ancestry.

In Mexico before its 1911 revolution, creole (or criollo in Spanish) was the word not for a language but for persons of pure Spanish parentage who were born in the New World. They formed an underclass whose discontents impelled the Mexican revolution from Spain in 1811.