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[slahv, slav] /slɑv, slæv/
one of a group of peoples in eastern, southeastern, and central Europe, including the Russians and Ruthenians (Eastern Slavs) the Bulgars, Serbs, Croats, Slavonians, Slovenes, etc. (Southern Slavs) and the Poles, Czechs, Moravians, Slovaks, etc. (Western Slavs)
of, relating to, or characteristic of the Slavs; Slavic.
Origin of Slav
1350-1400; < Medieval Latin Slāvus, variant of Sclāvus, akin to Late Greek Sklábos < a Slavic ethnonym, perhaps originally a name for all Slavic tribes (cf. Slovak, Slovene, Old Russian Slověně an East Slavic tribe); replacing Middle English Sclave < Medieval Latin Sclāvus


or Slav

1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Slav
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps the Slav blood is responsible for much that is abnormal and unconventional.

    Marie Tarnowska Annie Vivanti
  • Without a word the stalwart Slav took him on his brawny shoulder.

    The Trail of '98 Robert W. Service
  • The Ausgleich was of ill-omen to the Slav subjects of Hungary.

  • It was to him a marvel that these people's mother-tongue was Slav.

  • Other Slav influences may be traced in the language, in the names of places and rivers.

  • A second time I glimpsed the Slav behind his veneer of civilization.

    The Pirate of Panama William MacLeod Raine
  • In the western part of the state a Bohemian or a Slav can get only the German tongue.

    A Stake in the Land Peter Alexander Speek
  • But his father was a Slav, and what is madness in an Englishwoman is sanity in a Russian.

    Paul Patoff F. Marion Crawford
  • Thirty of these torpedoes, each a hundred feet long, dropping down on the very heart of the Slav invasion!

  • No one knows what the morrow will bring, either to us or to the Slav.

    The Story of Russia R. Van Bergen, M.A.
British Dictionary definitions for Slav


a member of any of the peoples of E Europe or NW Asia who speak a Slavonic language
Word Origin
C14: from Medieval Latin Sclāvus a captive Slav; see slave
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 Slav

late 14c., Sclave, from Medieval Latin Sclavus (c.800), from Byzantine Greek Sklabos (c.580), from Old Church Slavonic Sloveninu "a Slav," probably related to slovo "word, speech," which suggests the name originally identified a member of a speech community (cf. Old Church Slavonic Nemici "Germans," related to nemu "dumb;" and cf. Old English þeode, which meant both "race" and "language").

Identical with the -slav in personal names (e.g. Russian Miroslav, literally "peaceful fame;" Mstislav "vengeful fame;" Jaroslav "famed for fury;" Czech Bohuslav "God's glory;" and cf. Wenceslas). Spelled Slave c.1788-1866, influenced by French and German Slave. As an adjective from 1876.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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