Definition of Etruscan in English:



  • Relating to ancient Etruria, its people, or their language. The Etruscan civilization was at its height c.500 BC and was an important influence on the Romans, who had subdued the Etruscans by the end of the 3rd century BC.

    • ‘On an Etruscan vase of the sixth century B.C., the lady is holding a member of the cat family and a deer.’
    • ‘Most of what is known about the Etruscan society comes from stone carvings found at burial sites.’
    • ‘In 396 B.C., the Romans attacked and destroyed the Etruscan town of Veii.’
    • ‘The Etruscan language has so far proved beyond translation; it was still spoken and written in the 1st century AD but no literature survives.’
    • ‘The Roman republic was founded in a revolution against Etruscan kings in the sixth century B.C.E.’
    • ‘According to Roman legend, the Romans expelled the Etruscan king Tarquin the Proud from Rome around 509 B.C. and founded the Roman Republic.’
    • ‘Take for instance the story of Caius Mucius Scaevola, a man who was willing to risk anything to save Rome from an Etruscan attack.’
    • ‘Music was certainly part of Etruscan feasts, and possibly of feasts further north.’
    • ‘The origin of the name Vaticanus is uncertain; some claim that the name comes from a vanished Etruscan town called Vaticum.’
    • ‘The bold use of wall space, incorporating broader and heavier Roman and Etruscan elements, also characterizes Empire interiors.’
    • ‘In the 6th century the Romans rose in revolt against their Etruscan rulers and expelled them from the city.’
    • ‘A yet more disturbing instance of domestic violence is found in the patriotic legend involving Horatius, whose bravery, along with that of his two brothers, saved Rome from an Etruscan take-over.’
    • ‘The letters run from right to left, as usual with Etruscan inscriptions.’
    • ‘They were strongly influenced by Greek culture, their city-states were ruled by kings and their territory included Rome until it shrugged off the Etruscan yoke.’
    • ‘It is a region rich in art and Roman and Etruscan history, with a spectacular landscape of rolling green hills and mountains, trees, vineyards and hilltop villages.’
    • ‘The earliest examples of frame making date back to the 2nd century B.C., when borders drawn around Etruscan cave paintings were first used.’
    • ‘However, at its height Etruscan society was heavily influenced by the culture of the Greek colonies of southern Italy.’
    • ‘First stop was the ancient Etruscan city of Viterbo, about 90 minutes' drive north.’
    • ‘There's something still really mysterious about the Etruscan civilization and language.’
    • ‘Gladiatorial contests were originally an Etruscan practice and so date back to the days before the Roman Republic was founded.’


  • 1A native of ancient Etruria.

    • ‘The Etruscans used the sarcophagus with a characteristic feature of the effigy of the deceased reclining on the lid.’
    • ‘The Etruscans dominated Central Italy from the Po valley down to Campania by the seventh century BC.’
    • ‘For the Etruscans, armed combat between individuals was connected to religious practice. Men fought to the death beside the tomb of their chief in order to strengthen their spirits as well as the spirits of others.’
    • ‘Some people have argued that they may have been related to the Etruscans of Italy, but since the Etruscans have all been dead for thousands of years it is hard to tell.’
    • ‘A tradition of wine-making stretches back thousands of years to the Etruscans.’
    • ‘Then again, there are letters in the ‘model’ alphabet, such as beta, delta and omicron, which were never used by the Etruscans because their language did not include the particular sounds for which those letters stood in Greek.’
    • ‘Most of the thousands of known fragments written by the Etruscans are funerary inscriptions.’
    • ‘The Tuscan people are justly proud of their ancestry right back as far as the Etruscans 3000 years ago.’
    • ‘Birds are beautiful creatures that have captured humans' fancy at least since the Etruscans studied their flight patterns for clues to the future nearly 3000 years ago.’
    • ‘The more advanced civilizations of both Etruscans and Greeks were gradually absorbed by the Romans.’
    • ‘The prices of pots militate against this interpretation of the evidence, however, and in life the Etruscans enjoyed gold and silver vessels at their banquets.’
    • ‘I realize that the Romans' attitude to the Etruscans is parallel to ours with regard to the American Indians, and that we carry this oblique, shadowy, invidious guilt about these genocides.’
    • ‘In particular, the Romans fought against the Etruscans and the Samnites.’
    • ‘Hunting, fishing, and wrestling are represented in the pre-literate art of the Etruscans, Egyptians, and Chinese, and in fact in nearly all primitive art.’
    • ‘Strategically situated in the Mediterranean, the island has attracted an endless succession of invaders, from the Etruscans and the Saracens to the Pisans and the Genoese.’
    • ‘In many respects, the culture of the Etruscans was very similar to that of the Mycenae in Greece.’
    • ‘But the Etruscans were under constant pressure from communities to the north, and increasingly from Rome in the south.’
    • ‘What makes him warm to the Etruscans is their sensitivity.’
    • ‘It is thought that the first set was made more than two thousand years ago by the Etruscans.’
  • 2mass noun The language of ancient Etruria, which was written in an alphabet derived from Greek but is not related to any known language.

    • ‘For a start, the letters generally point in the opposite direction to the Greek ones, because Etruscan was written from right to left, whereas classical Greek was written from left to right.’


From Latin Etruscus + -an.