• synonyms


[roo-thee-nee-uh n, -theen-yuh n]
  1. Also Ru·thene [roo-theen] /ruˈθin/. of or relating to the inhabitants of Ruthenia, Galicia, and neighboring regions.
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  1. one of the Ruthenian people.
  2. the dialect of Ukrainian spoken in Ruthenia.
  3. a member of a former Orthodox religious group that entered into communion with the Roman Catholic Church in 1596 and became the “Uniate Church of the Little Russians.”
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Origin of Ruthenian

First recorded in 1840–50; Rutheni(a) + -an
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ruthenian

Historical Examples

  • The lands of Lithuanian and Ruthenian speech were never conquered by Poland.

    Notes on Life and Letters

    Joseph Conrad

  • The mention of the Ruthenian Basilians refers to an extremely delicate work entrusted to the Jesuits.

    The Jesuits, 1534-1921

    Thomas J. Campbell

  • We finish with a few Ruthenian ballads, having no political reference.

  • It ought to have been called Songs of the Ruthenian people in Poland.

  • At this period, Rothe, a Ruthenian rover, almost destroyed our country with his rapine and cruelty.

    The Danish History, Books I-IX

    Saxo Grammaticus ("Saxo the Learned")

British Dictionary definitions for ruthenian


  1. of or relating to Ruthenia, its people, or their dialect of Ukrainian
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  1. a dialect of Ukrainian
  2. a native or inhabitant of Ruthenia
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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 ruthenian



1850, of or pertaining to the Ukrainian people (earlier Ruthene, 1540s), from Medieval Latin Rutheni "the Little Russians," a derivative of Russi (see Russia). For consonant change, cf. Medieval Latin Prut(h)eni, from Prussi "Prussians." Another word in the same sense was Russniak.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper