a historic region in SE Europe: a former Turkish province; a part of Austria-Hungary (1879–1918) now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Related formsBos·ni·an, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bosnian

British Dictionary definitions for bosnian



of or relating to Bosnia or its inhabitants


a native or inhabitant of Bosnia
the language spoken in Bosnia-Herzegovina, formerly regarded as a dialect of Serbo-Croatian


The Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian languages were regarded as dialects of Serbo-Croat before the three countries emerged as independent states in the 1990s. Some linguists still refer to a single Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (BHS) language; however, the more common practice is to treat Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian as separate languages, even though they are mutually intelligible. Many Montenegrins refer to their language as 'Serbian', though there is also a movement to rename it 'Montenegrin'. The terms Serbo-Croat and Serbo-Croatian are no longer commonly used, though they are preserved in this dictionary when historically correct, such as the derivation of a word from Serbo-Croat before Bosnia separated from Yugoslavia.



a region of central Bosnia-Herzegovina: belonged to Turkey (1463–1878), to Austria-Hungary (1879–1918), then to Yugoslavia (1918–91)
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 bosnian


named for the River Bosna, which is perhaps from an Indo-European root *bhog- "current." As a name or adjective for someone there, Bosnian (1788) is older in English than Bosniac (1836, from Russian Bosnyak).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper