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[vil-nee-oo s] /ˈvɪl niˌʊs/
a city in and the capital of Lithuania, in the SE part: formerly in the Soviet Union and earlier in Poland.
Polish Wilno.
Russian Vilna
[vyeel-nuh; English vil-nuh] /ˈvyil nə; English ˈvɪl nə/ (Show IPA)


[lith-oo-ey-nee-uh] /ˌlɪθ uˈeɪ ni ə/
a republic in N Europe, on the Baltic: an independent state 1918–40; annexed by the Soviet Union 1940; regained independence 1991. 25,174 sq. mi. (65,200 sq. km).
Capital: Vilnius.
Lithuanian Lietuva.
Related forms
[lith-oo-an-ik] /ˌlɪθ uˈæn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for Vilnius


the capital of Lithuania: passed to Russia in 1795; under Polish rule (1920–39); university (1578); an industrial and commercial centre. Pop: 544 000 (2005 est) Russian name Vilna (ˈvilna) Polish name Wilno


a republic in NE Europe, on the Baltic Sea: a grand duchy in medieval times; united with Poland in 1569; occupied by Russia in 1795 and by Germany during World War I; independent Lithuania formed in 1918, but occupied by Soviet troops in 1919 and then by Poland; became a Soviet republic in 1940; unilaterally declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1990; recognized as independent in 1991; joined the EU in 2004. Official language: Lithuanian. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: litas. Capital: Vilnius. Pop: 3 515 858 (2013 est). Area: 65 200 sq km (25 174 sq miles) Also called Lithuanian Republic Lithuanian name Lietuva
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 Vilnius


Baltic nation, from Lithuanian Lietuva, of unknown origin, perhaps from a PIE source related to Latin litus "shore" and thus meaning "shoreland." Related: Lithuanian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Vilnius in Culture
Lithuania [(lith-ooh-ay-nee-uh)]

Republic on the Baltic Sea, bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and southeast, Poland to the south, and by an isolated segment of Russia to the southwest. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius.

Note: Lithuania was one of the largest and most powerful states in Europe from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, at which time it merged with Poland. In the late eighteenth century, it was absorbed by Russia. A nationalist movement that grew in strength throughout the nineteenth century finally bore fruit when the Russian empire collapsed during World War I. Lithuanians achieved their desired goal of an independent state during the interwar years, but their country was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, as were the neighboring countries of Estonia and Latvia.
Note: Occupied by German forces during World War II, at which time thousands of Lithuanian Jews were exterminated.
Note: As the communist system began to collapse and the Soviet Union began to dissolve, Lithuania became the first of the Baltic republics to reject Soviet rule, declaring its independence in March 1990.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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