Origin of geneva

1700–10; < Dutch genever < Old French genevre < Latin jūniperus juniper




a city in and the capital of the canton of Geneva, in SW Switzerland, on the Lake of Geneva: seat of the League of Nations 1920–46.
a canton in SW Switzerland. 109 sq. mi. (282 sq. km).
Lake of. Also called Lake Leman. a lake between SW Switzerland and France. 45 miles (72 km) long; 225 sq. mi. (583 sq. km).
a city in central New York.
a female given name.
French Genève (for defs 1–3). Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for geneva

Contemporary Examples of geneva

Historical Examples of geneva

  • Within a few hours we three were at the seat of the World Government at Geneva.

  • She promised to write to us to Geneva, as we were returning there.

  • In Geneva cats prowl about the streets like dogs at Constantinople.

    Concerning Cats

    Helen M. Winslow

  • He has a fine Geneva watch, but he fails of the skill to tell the hour by the sun.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • I doubted it; but I would have gone off cheerfully to fetch him from the other end of Geneva.

    Under Western Eyes

    Joseph Conrad

British Dictionary definitions for geneva



a city in SW Switzerland, in the Rhône valley on Lake Geneva: centre of Calvinism; headquarters of the International Red Cross (1864), the International Labour Office (1925), the League of Nations (1929–46), the World Health Organization, and the European office of the United Nations; banking centre. Pop: 177 500 (2002 est)
a canton in SW Switzerland. Capital: Geneva. Pop: 419 300 (2002 est). Area: 282 sq km (109 sq miles)French name: Genève German name: Genf
Lake Geneva a lake between SW Switzerland and E France: fed and drained by the River Rhône, it is the largest of the Alpine lakes; the surface is subject to considerable changes of level. Area: 580 sq km (224 sq miles)French name: Lac Léman German name: Genfersee
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 geneva


city in Switzerland, from Latin Genava, perhaps from a PIE root meaning "estuary" or one meaning "bend;" in either case a reference to its situation. The city was the headquarters of the League of Nations from 1920. The original Geneva Convention to introduce humanitarian conduct in modern warfare dates from 1864; the most recent update was in 1949. The Geneva Protocol is a League of Nations document meant to settle international disputes; it dates from 1924. Earlier the city was associated with Calvinism. Meaning "gin" is from 1706 (see gin (n.1)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for geneva


City in southwestern Switzerland, lying on the western end of Lake Geneva, where the Rhone River leaves the lake.


Because of Switzerland's strict neutrality, Geneva provides an impartial meeting ground for representatives of other nations.


The city housed the headquarters of the League of Nations in the Palace of Nations, which is now the European headquarters of the United Nations.


The International Labor Organization, the International Red Cross, and the World Council of Churches are also based in Geneva.


Under the leadership of John Calvin in the sixteenth century, Geneva was the center of Protestantism.


The Geneva Accords were a group of four agreements made in 1954, ending seven and a half years of war in Indochina.


The Geneva Conventions, signed first in 1864 and then in 1906, 1929, 1949, and 1977, provide rules for the humane treatment of prisoners and wounded persons during a war.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.