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[sam-uh-vahr, sam-uh-vahr]
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  1. a metal urn, used especially by Russians for heating water for making tea.

Origin of samovar

1820–30; < Russian samovár, equivalent to samo- self (see same) + -var, noun derivative of varítʾ to cook, boil
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for samovar

Historical Examples

  • But there was no more water in the samovar, so the hostess did not fill it up for him.

    Master and Man

    Leo Tolstoy

  • The samovar is hissing on the table by the stove, the tea things are set out.

  • The samovar, or Russian tea-urn, is boiling in the great room.

    From Pole to Pole

    Sven Anders Hedin

  • "So I have been told," said Malcolm, as he filled a glass with tea from the samovar.

  • The samovar is always boiling and some one is always drinking tea there.

British Dictionary definitions for samovar


  1. (esp in Russia) a metal urn for making tea, in which the water is heated esp formerly by charcoal held in an inner container or nowadays more usually by electricity

Word Origin

C19: from Russian, from samo- self (related to same) + varit' to boil
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 samovar


1830, from Russian samovar, literally "self-boiler," from sam "self" (see same) + varit "to boil" (from Old Church Slavonic variti "to cook," from PIE root *wer- "to burn"); but this is perhaps folk-etymology if the word is from Tatar sanabar "tea-urn."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper