[ruhsh-uh n]
  1. a native or inhabitant of Russia.
  2. a member of a Slavic people, the dominant ethnic group in the Russian Federation, whose historical homeland lies along the upper Volga and Oka rivers and adjacent areas.
  3. the Slavic language of this people, written in the Cyrillic alphabet: the official language of Russia or the Russian Federation.
  4. Informal. Russian dressing.

Origin of Russian

From the Medieval Latin word Russiānus, dating back to 1530–40. See Russ, Russia, -an
Related formsan·ti-Rus·sian, adjective, nounhalf-Rus·sian, adjectivenon-Rus·sian, adjective, nounpro-Rus·sian, adjective, nounpseu·do-Rus·sian, adjective, nounsem·i-Rus·sian, adjective, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of russian

Historical Examples of russian

British Dictionary definitions for russian


  1. the official language of Russia: an Indo-European language belonging to the East Slavonic branch
  2. the official language of the former Soviet Union
  3. a native or inhabitant of Russia
  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of Russia, its people, or their language
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 russian



1530s, from Medieval Latin Russianus, from Russia (see Russia). Slang or colloquial Russki "Russian" (1858) is from Russian Russkiy. Russian roulette attested from 1937. Russian dressing for salads is from 1915.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper