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Potëmkin

[poh-tem-kin, puh-; Russian puh-tyawm-kyin]
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noun
  1. Prince Gri·go·ri A·le·ksan·dro·vich [gri-gawr-ee al-ig-zan-druh-vich, -zahn-; Russian gryi-gaw-ryee uh-lyi-ksahn-druh-vyich] /grɪˈgɔr i ˌæl ɪgˈzæn drə vɪtʃ, -ˈzɑn-; Russian gryɪˈgɔ ryi ʌ lyɪˈksɑn drə vyɪtʃ/, 1739–91, Russian statesman and favorite of Catherine II.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for potemkin

Potemkin

Potyomkin

noun
  1. Grigori Aleksandrovich (ɡriˈɡɔrij alɪkˈsandrəvitʃ). 1739–91, Russian soldier and statesman; lover of Catherine II, whose favourite he remained until his death, and who is reputed to have erected sham villages along the route of the Empress's 1787 tour of the Crimea
  2. apparently impressive but actually sham or artificialNorth Korea's Potemkin hospital
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

Word Origin and History for potemkin

Potemkin

in reference to Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791), favorite of Catherine II of Russia, especially in reference to the sham villages supposedly erected under his orders for the empress’ tour of Crimea (1787) to create an impression of prosperity and progress. The silent film "Battleship Potemkin" dates from 1925, depicting (with elaboration) events of 1905 and the mutiny of a Russian battleship named for the Tsarist minister.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper