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Samoyed

[sam-uh-yed, suh-moi-id]
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noun
  1. a member of a Uralic people dwelling in W Siberia and the far NE parts of European Russia.
  2. Also Samoyedic. a subfamily of Uralic languages spoken by the Samoyed people.
  3. (sometimes lowercase) one of a Russian breed of medium-sized dogs that have long, dense, white or cream hair and are used by the Samoyed people for herding reindeer and pulling sleds.
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Origin of Samoyed

First recorded in 1580–90, Samoyed is from the Russian word samoyéd
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for samoyed

Samoyed

noun
  1. plural -yed or -yeds a member of a group of peoples who migrated along the Russian Arctic coast and now live chiefly in the area of the N Urals: related to the Finns
  2. the languages of these peoples, related to Finno-Ugric within the Uralic family
  3. (səˈmɔɪɛd) a Siberian breed of dog of the spitz type, having a dense white or cream coat with a distinct ruff, and a tightly curled tail
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Derived FormsSamoyedic, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Russian Samoed
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 samoyed

Samoyed

n.

Siberian Mongolian people, 1580s, from Russian samoyed (11c.), traditionally literally "self-eaters," i.e. "cannibals" (the first element cognate with same, the second with eat), but this might be Russian folk etymology of a native name:

The common Russian etymology of the name Samoyed, meaning "self-eater," deepened the Russians' already exotic image of far-northerners. The most probable linguistic origin of Samoyed, however, is from the Saami -- saam-edne, "land of the people" [Andrei V. Golovnev and Gail Osherenko, "Siberian Survival: The Nenets and Their Story," Cornell University, 1999]

Which would make the name a variant of Suomi "Finn." The native name is Nenets. As the name of a type of dog (once used as a working dog in the Arctic) it is attested from 1889.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper