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[vuh-ran-jee-uh n] /vəˈræn dʒi ən/
any of the Northmen who, under Rurik, established a dynasty in Russia in the 9th century.
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.
of or relating to the Varangians. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Varangian
Historical Examples
  • Thus perished Sviatoslav, in spite of his Slavonic name a thorough type of the Varangian chieftain.

  • On the way he turned aside to Polotzk, then held as a dependent fief by a Varangian named Rogvolod.

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

  • The Varangian princes, invited by the Novgorodians, of whom Rurik was the chief, soon signalized themselves by great expeditions.

    The Art of War Baron Henri de Jomini
  • I found the kislischi nearly identical with the ancient Scandinavian mead: no doubt it dates from the Varangian rule in Russia.

  • Glycerium responded, with a slight air of constraint, “Sigurd Olafson, the young Varangian captain.”

    The Proud Prince Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • Its rulers were brave, their Varangian followers were courageous, the city was strong.

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

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

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

British Dictionary definitions for Varangian


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
of or relating to the Varangians
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
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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."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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