the Kremlin,
  1. the executive branch of the government of Russia or of the Soviet Union, especially in regard to its foreign affairs.
  2. the citadel of Moscow, including within its walls the chief offices of the Russian and, formerly, of the Soviet government.

Origin of Kremlin

1655–65; earlier Kremelien < German (now obsolete) < an unattestested outcome of Old Russian *kremlĭnĭ, derivative of kremlĭ (Russian kremlʾ, gen kremlyá) citadel, akin to Old Russian Kromŭ the citadel of Pskov, Ukrainian króma partition, Russian kromá, krómka edge, border Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Historical Examples of kremlin

British Dictionary definitions for kremlin



the citadel of any Russian city

Word Origin for kremlin

C17: from obsolete German Kremelin, from Russian kreml



the 12th-century citadel in Moscow, containing the former Imperial Palace, three Cathedrals, and the offices of the Russian government
(formerly) the central government of the Soviet Union
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 kremlin


1660s, Cremelena, from Old Russian kremlinu, later kremlin (1796), from kreml' "citadel, fortress," perhaps of Tartar origin. Originally the citadel of any Russian city, now especially the one in Moscow. Used metonymically for "government of the U.S.S.R." from 1933. The modern form of the word in English might be via French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

kremlin in Culture


A fortress in central Moscow that contains the central offices of the government of Russia and, formerly, the offices of the Soviet Union.


The term Kremlin was also used figuratively to mean the former Soviet government.
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.