[fee-nee-uh n, feen-yuh n]
- a member of an Irish revolutionary organization founded in New York in 1858, which worked for the establishment of an independent Irish republic.
- (in late Irish legends) a member of a group of warriors always ready to defend Ireland against its enemies.
Origin of Fenian
1810–20; < Irish féinne (genitive of fiann band of Fenians) + -ian; influenced by Old Irish féne ancient inhabitant of Ireland
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for fenian
Of course you have heard of the great Fenian raid, which really is to come off.
Yates got a pass, written by the Fenian general, so that we should not be troubled again.In the Midst of Alarms
I would rather not name the Fenian leaders I knew, and the reason is this.
The Fenian conception was high-souled, and had some romance about it.
Possibly at the moment, the vulgar Fenian seemed the finer fellow.Lord Kilgobbin
- (formerly) a member of an Irish revolutionary organization founded in the US in the 19th century to fight for an independent Ireland
- Irish myth one of the Fianna
- derogatory, offensive an Irish Catholic or a person of Irish Catholic descent
- of or relating to the Fenians
C19: from Irish Gaelic fēinne, plural of fian band of warriors
Word Origin and History for fenian
1816, blend of Old Irish feinne, plural of fiann, name of a band of Irish warriors + Old Irish Fene, name of the ancient inhabitants of Ireland. Reference to Irish-American brotherhood of that name first attested 1864.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper