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Bern

[burn; German bern] /bɜrn; German bɛrn/
noun
1.
a city in and the capital of Switzerland, in the W part: capital of Bern canton.
2.
a canton in W Switzerland. 2658 sq. mi. (6885 sq. km).
Capital: Bern.
Also, Berne.

Switzerland

[swit-ser-luh nd] /ˈswɪt sər lənd/
noun
1.
a republic in central Europe. 15,944 sq. mi. (41,294 sq. km).
Capital: Bern.
French Suisse.
German Schweiz.
Italian Svizzera.
Latin Helvetia.
Related forms
pro-Switzerland, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Bern

Bern

/bɜːn; German bɛrn/
noun
1.
the capital of Switzerland, in the W part, on the Aar River: entered the Swiss confederation in 1353 and became the capital in 1848. Pop: 122 700 (2002 est)
2.
a canton of Switzerland, between the French frontier and the Bernese Alps. Capital: Bern. Pop: 950 200 (2002 est). Area: 6884 sq km (2658 sq miles)
French name Berne (bɛrn)

Switzerland

/ˈswɪtsələnd/
noun
1.
a federal republic in W central Europe: the cantons of Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden formed a defensive league against the Hapsburgs in 1291, later joined by other cantons; gained independence in 1499; adopted a policy of permanent neutrality from 1516; a leading centre of the Reformation in the 16th century. It lies in the Jura Mountains and the Alps, with a plateau between the two ranges. Official languages: German, French, and Italian; Romansch minority. Religion: mostly Protestant and Roman Catholic. Currency: Swiss franc. Capital: Bern. Pop: 7 996 026 (2013 est). Area: 41 288 sq km (15 941 sq miles) German name Schweiz French name Suisse Italian name Svizzera Latin name Helvetia (hɛlˈviːʃə)
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
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Word Origin and History for Bern

Swiss capital, probably originally from PIE root *ber- "marshy place," but by folk etymology from German Bär "bear" (cf. Berlin). Related: Bernese.

Switzerland

named for Schwyz, one of its original cantons. On postage stamps, etc., identified by the Roman name for the region, Helvetia, to avoid having to print the four different forms of the name in the country’s four official languages: Suisse, Schweiz, Svizzera, Svizra.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bern in Culture

Switzerland definition


Republic in central Europe, bordered by France to the west, Germany to the north, Liechtenstein and Austria to the east, and Italy to the east and south. Its capital is Bern, and its largest city is Zurich.

Note: Known for its strict neutrality, Switzerland maintained armed neutrality in both World War I and World War II.
Note: Swiss banks allow depositors to be identified by a number known only to the depositor and a few bank officials; private fortunes can therefore be kept secret.
Note: It is famous for its watchmaking industry and its milk chocolate.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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