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[boh-yahr, boi-er] /boʊˈyɑr, ˈbɔɪ ər/
Russian History. a member of the old nobility of Russia, before Peter the Great made rank dependent on state service.
a member of a former privileged class in Romania.
Also, boyard
[boh-yahrd, boi-erd] /boʊˈyɑrd, ˈbɔɪ ərd/ (Show IPA)
Origin of boyar
1585-95; earlier boiaren < Russian boyárin, akin to OCS bolyarinŭ (translating Greek megistán man of high status), Bulgarian bolyár(in); of disputed orig.
Related forms
boyarism, boyardism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for boyar
Historical Examples
  • Upon the tale the boyar had brought him he offered now no comment.

  • In the Bukowina every gentleman or proprietor of land is called boyar.

    Austria Frederick Shoberl
  • Their souls are like the soul of Yorga's mother, the boyar's daughter.

    Dust of New York Konrad Bercovici
  • Here I am noble; I am boyar; the common people know me, and I am master.

    Dracula Bram Stoker
  • Many a mercenary perished, but finally not a boyar remained alive.

  • With frowning brows she stood in the doorway looking at the boyar.

  • I have come to fetch you,” said Racoare shortly, “and take you to boyar Nicola.

  • boyar was grazing near, and besides, she was not really afraid of the men.

    Overland Red Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • "boyar, my pony, is the fastest pony in the hills," said Louise pensively.

    Overland Red Henry Herbert Knibbs
  • He waited—till he struck rock and brush before he turned boyar.

    Overland Red Henry Herbert Knibbs
British Dictionary definitions for boyar


/ˈbəʊjɑː; ˈbɔɪə/
a member of an old order of Russian nobility, ranking immediately below the princes: abolished by Peter the Great
Word Origin
C16: from Old Russian boyarin, from Old Slavonic boljarinǔ, probably from Old Turkic boila a title
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boyar

member of a Russian aristocratic class (abolished by Peter the Great), 1590s, from Russian boyarin, perhaps from boji "struggle," or from Slavic root *bol- "great."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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