[fee-nee-uhn, feen-yuhn]
a member of an Irish revolutionary organization founded in New York in 1858, which worked for the establishment of an independent Irish republic.
(in late Irish legends) a member of a group of warriors always ready to defend Ireland against its enemies.

1810–20; < Irish féinne (genitive of fiann band of Fenians) + -ian; influenced by Old Irish féne ancient inhabitant of Ireland

Fenianism, noun
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World English Dictionary
Fenian (ˈfiːnɪən)
1.  (formerly) a member of an Irish revolutionary organization founded in the US in the 19th century to fight for an independent Ireland
2.  Irish myth one of the Fianna
3.  derogatory, offensive an Irish Catholic or a person of Irish Catholic descent
4.  of or relating to the Fenians
[C19: from Irish Gaelic fēinne, plural of fian band of warriors]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1816, blend of O.Ir. feinne, pl. of fiann, name of a band of Ir. warriors + O.Ir. Fene, name of the ancient inhabitants of Ireland. Ref. to Irish-Amer. brotherhood of that name first attested 1864.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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