a city in and the capital of Lithuania, in the SE part: formerly in the Soviet Union and earlier in Poland.
Polish Wilno.
Russian Vilna [vyeel-nuh; English vil-nuh] . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Vilnius or Vilnyus (ˈvɪlnɪʊs)
Russian name: Vilna, Polish name: Wilno the capital of Lithuania: passed to Russia in 1795; under Polish rule (1920--39); university (1578); an industrial and commercial centre. Pop: 544 000 (2005 est)
Vilnyus or Vilnyus (ˈvɪlnɪʊs, ˈvilna)

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

from Lith. Lietuva, of unknown origin, perhaps from a PIE source related to L. litus "shore" and thus meaning "shoreland."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Lithuania [(lith-ooh-ay-nee-uh)]

Republic on the Baltic Sea, bordered by Latvia to the north, Belarus to the east and southeast, Poland to the south, and by an isolated segment of Russia to the southwest. Its capital and largest city is Vilnius.

Note: Lithuania was one of the largest and most powerful states in Europe from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, at which time it merged with Poland. In the late eighteenth century, it was absorbed by Russia. A nationalist movement that grew in strength throughout the nineteenth century finally bore fruit when the Russian empire collapsed during World War I. Lithuanians achieved their desired goal of an independent state during the interwar years, but their country was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, as were the neighboring countries of Estonia and Latvia.
Note: Occupied by German forces during World War II, at which time thousands of Lithuanian Jews were exterminated.
Note: As the communist system began to collapse and the Soviet Union began to dissolve, Lithuania became the first of the Baltic republics to reject Soviet rule, declaring its independence in March 1990.
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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