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Southern Slavs

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plural noun
  1. See under Slav.
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Slav

[slahv, slav]
noun
  1. one of a group of peoples in eastern, southeastern, and central Europe, including the Russians and Ruthenians (Eastern Slavs), the Bulgars, Serbs, Croats, Slavonians, Slovenes, etc. (Southern Slavs), and the Poles, Czechs, Moravians, Slovaks, etc. (Western Slavs).
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adjective
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the Slavs; Slavic.
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Origin of Slav

1350–1400; < Medieval Latin Slāvus, variant of Sclāvus, akin to Late Greek Sklábos < a Slavic ethnonym, perhaps originally a name for all Slavic tribes (cf. Slovak, Slovene, Old Russian Slověně an East Slavic tribe); replacing Middle English Sclave < Medieval Latin Sclāvus
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for southern slavs

Slav

noun
  1. a member of any of the peoples of E Europe or NW Asia who speak a Slavonic language
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Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin Sclāvus a captive Slav; see slave
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 southern slavs

Slav

n.

late 14c., Sclave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus (c.800), from Byzantine Greek Sklabos (c.580), from Old Church Slavonic Sloveninu "a Slav," probably related to slovo "word, speech," which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community (cf. Old Church Slavonic Nemici "Germans," related to nemu "dumb;" and cf. Old English þeode, which meant both "race" and "language").

Identical with the -slav in personal names (e.g. Russian Miroslav, literally "peaceful fame;" Mstislav "vengeful fame;" Jaroslav "famed for fury;" Czech Bohuslav "God's glory;" and cf. Wenceslas). Spelled Slave c.1788-1866, influenced by French and German Slave. As an adjective from 1876.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper