[ahy-oh-nee-uh n]


of or relating to Ionia.
of or relating to the branch of the Greek people named from Ion, their legendary founder.


a member of one of the four main divisions of the prehistoric Greeks who invaded the Greek mainland and, after the Dorian invasions, emigrated to the Aegean islands and the coast of Asia Minor.Compare Achaean(def 5), Aeolian2(def 2), Dorian1(def 2).
an Ionian Greek.

Origin of Ionian

First recorded in 1555–65; Ioni(a) + -an Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ionian

Historical Examples of ionian

  • She and her nurse had been stolen from the Ionian coast, by Greek pirates.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • And when it died away, did not he fade with it—fade until the Ionian waters took him?

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • The Ionian, he replied, and the Lydian; they are termed 'relaxed.'

  • Ionian art went with the gay and pleasure-loving ways of the Asiatic coast.

  • The waves of the pure Ionian air still rang for ever with the name of Delphinios.

British Dictionary definitions for ionian



a member of a Hellenic people who settled in Attica in about 1100 bc and later colonized the islands and E coast of the Aegean Sea


of or relating to this people or their dialect of Ancient Greek; Ionic
of or relating to Ionia
music relating to or denoting an authentic mode represented by the ascending natural diatonic scale from C to C and forming the basis of the modern major keySee also Hypo-
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 ionian



"of Ionia," the districts of ancient Greece inhabited by the Ionians (including Attica and the north coast of the Peloponnesus, but especially the coastal strip of Asia Minor, including the islands of Samos and Chios). The name (which Herodotus credits to an ancestral Ion, son of Apollo and Creusa) probably is pre-Greek, perhaps related to Sanskrit yoni "womb, vulva," and a reference to goddess-worshipping people.

Also used of the sea that lies between Italy and the northern Peloponnesus (1630s). The musical Ionian mode (1844) corresponds to our basic major scale but was characterized by the Greeks as soft and effeminate, as were the Ionians generally.

The Ionians delighted in wanton dances and songs more than the rest of the Greeks ... and wanton gestures were proverbially termed Ionic motions. [Thomas Robinson, "Archæologica Græca," 1807]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper