• synonyms


[vuh-ran-jee-uh n]
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  1. any of the Northmen who, under Rurik, established a dynasty in Russia in the 9th century.
  2. a member of the bodyguard (Varangian guard) of the Byzantine emperors, especially in the 11th and 12th centuries, made up of Northmen, Anglo-Saxons, and other northern Europeans.
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  1. of or relating to the Varangians.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for varangian

Historical Examples

  • For this purpose there was selected a young Varangian who, with his father, had adopted the Christian faith.

    Historic Tales, Vol. 8 (of 15)

    Charles Morris

  • He left no sons, and with him, its fifty-second sovereign, the dynasty of Rurik the Varangian came to an end.

  • By the mouth of the Neva had passed Rurik and his fellows in their journeys across the Varangian sea,—their own sea.

  • He returned through Constantinople, where many of the English fugitives were serving in the Varangian guard.

  • Thus perished Sviatoslav, in spite of his Slavonic name a thorough type of the Varangian chieftain.

British Dictionary definitions for varangian


  1. one of the Scandinavian peoples who invaded and settled parts of Russia and Ukraine from the 8th to the 11th centuries, and who formed the bodyguard of the Byzantine emperor (Varangian Guard) in the late 10th and 11th centuries
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  1. of or relating to the Varangians
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Word Origin

C18: from Medieval Latin Varangus, from Medieval Greek Barangos, from Old Norse Væringi, probably from vār pledge
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 varangian



"one of the Northmen who founded a dynasty in Russia," 1788, from Medieval Latin Varangus, from Byzantine Greek Barangos, a name ultimately (via Slavic) from Old Norse væringi "a Scandinavian," properly "a confederate," from var- "pledge, faith," related to Old English wær "agreement, treaty, promise," Old High German wara "faithfulness" (see very). Attested in Old Russian as variagi; surviving in Russian varyag "a pedlar," Ukrainian varjah "a big strong man."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper