Definition of boyar in English:


Pronunciation /bəʊˈjɑː//ˈbɔɪɑː/


  • A member of the old aristocracy in Russia, next in rank to a prince.

    as modifier ‘the rise of the boyar class’
    • ‘But large landowners, the boyar aristocracy, retained 60 per cent of the land while 30 per cent of the peasants' plots were under two hectares in size.’
    • ‘He ruled in an increasingly arbitrary and absolutist fashion, brutalizing the aristocratic boyars in a decade-long period of terror known as the oprichnina.’
    • ‘Thus, the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries were years of struggle to keep Ukrainian lands from Poland, Hungary, and Lithuania, as well as free of the boyars or noblemen who tried to take control.’
    • ‘From the 15th to the 17th centuries Muscovite boyars formed a closed aristocratic class drawn from about 200 families.’
    • ‘Easter Sunday of 1459, Vlad invited all of the aristocrats, called boyars, who had played a role in his father's death, to a feast.’


Late 16th century: from Russian boyarin ‘grandee’.