Definition of Russian in English:



  • Relating to Russia, its people, or their language.

    • ‘I was interested in Russian literature, so I applied for the Russian language course at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang.’
    • ‘By the time of my third visit I had given up smoking, rendering half of my Russian language skills obsolete.’
    • ‘I've never watched a Russian language film that I can recall, so it should be interesting.’
    • ‘A Russian language children's club has been running in the area for two years and is now expanding into a proper nursery school, open to children aged between 2 ½ and five.’
    • ‘Pupils have already completed work that will be sent to Russian counterparts and he has enrolled on an on-line Russian language course.’
    • ‘Back then, I actually feared a second year of Russian language.’
    • ‘A Russian language edition was published in Russia in 1998.’
    • ‘How can one butcher the Russian language in such a way?’
    • ‘Customers can also rent video tapes of films and concerts in the Russian language.’
    • ‘The state-of-the-art enclosure at the zoo was the first outdoor experience for the female gorilla, who was also used to the Russian language.’
    • ‘With the recent cooperative effort to build the ISS, Russian language training has become a must.’
    • ‘Furthermore, it's vaguely distressing the way the Russian language exaggerates and caresses dreary realities.’
    • ‘An authority on Russian language, Igor has dedicated his life to its promotion.’
    • ‘At a time when that unease was in danger of becoming a potential confrontation the language being used by Russian diplomats last week was almost friendly.’
    • ‘The US government-funded station Radio Liberty beams programmes in the Chechen and Russian languages into the republic.’
    • ‘Law enforcement authorities are convinced the far-right is responsible for the detonation of a bomb aimed at Russian Jews attending a language school in Duesseldorf last month.’
    • ‘I haven't bothered with the Russian language versions on their album but the English ones are very catchy.’
    • ‘My sources tell me that this story is nowhere to be found on IRNA's Russian language wire, just the English.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, my turn was also my first chance to experience the Russian language.’
    • ‘A major Russian television network decided it would show only Russian language music videos.’


  • 1A native or inhabitant of Russia, or a person of Russian descent.

    • ‘However, Napoleon's invasion led the Russians to make peace with the Turks.’
    • ‘They told us that the Russians would never accept National Missile Defense.’
    • ‘Mustard gas was first used by the Germans against the Russians at Riga in September 1917.’
    • ‘We cannot, however, expect that there will be any yield given to the French, Germans and Russians.’
    • ‘Areas captured by the Germans during the day, were re-taken by the Russians at night.’
    • ‘The film looks at the pain of Easter Europe in the new millennium with humor and humanity, bringing a Lapp woman, a Russian and a Finn together to try to make sense of it all.’
    • ‘It was Russians who first built up a caviar industry on Iranian shores.’
    • ‘Though not a native Russian, he was on the staff of the Imperial Theatres in St Petersburg and played in a court chamber ensemble.’
    • ‘For most Russians the nation's favourite holiday outshadowed political concerns.’
    • ‘This year's team features a Swede, a German, a Russian, a Czech, and two Canadians.’
    • ‘He is not partisan and dealt equally with the callousness of the Chechen fighters and that of the Russians.’
    • ‘All Europeans, including Russians, enjoy the same values and the conflict has ceased to exist.’
    • ‘It was not so easy for the Russians in Chechnya after the invasion of the Russian army.’
    • ‘It relied on what the French or Russians did and the actions of one would provoke a German response and not the other way round.’
    • ‘Moscow asked for international help and the British crew rescued the Russians on August 7.’
    • ‘With a Finn, a Russian, two Canadians, and an American, this year's Hall, of Fame class exemplifies the game's global reach.’
    • ‘The Finns had been told the precise terms the Russians wanted on February 23rd.’
    • ‘Scots and Russians are very similar in terms of how open and friendly they are.’
    • ‘He married a French citizen, who was a Russian by descent, and was given permission to go off and live in Paris, which he did while still representing the Soviet Union at chess.’
    1. 1.1historical (in general use) a national of the former Soviet Union.
      • ‘The most flagrant example that showed how the Russians disposed of political dissenters took place in Czechoslovakia.’
  • 2mass noun The language of Russia, an Eastern Slavic language written in the Cyrillic alphabet and spoken by over 130 million people.

    • ‘She speaks Kazakh, Russian, English and Italian.’
    • ‘The official language is Estonian, with Russian also widely spoken.’
    • ‘We have even given out literature written in Russian, with information about the hotel and the bar tariff.’
    • ‘The official language is Belarusian, but Russian is also widely spoken.’
    • ‘Although not technically alien, the Russian Tsars and pomeshchiki were so aloof from their subjects that they spoke French rather than Russian and lived in a Western rather than Slavonic culture.’
    • ‘Like Russian, it is written in the Cyrillic alphabet.’
    • ‘It handles the above languages plus Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean.’
    • ‘World class sites were developed in English, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.’
    • ‘Though she counts Chinese and Russian among the languages she speaks fluently, Fritzie has never played piano in either of those countries.’
    • ‘He speaks Russian as his native language.’
    • ‘She couldn't speak Russian, though she knew the alphabet and could read names.’
    • ‘Most of the men included in these teams and groups spoke Russian and other languages of the Soviet Union and were dressed up as Red Army men and officers.’
    • ‘For example, my two new Georgian friends told me they had not uttered a word of Russian, the principal language of their schooldays, for a decade or more.’
    • ‘Although the Kyrgyz language is spoken in the home, most Kyrgyz also speak Russian, which is the language of business and commerce.’
    • ‘Savenko has a fine presence, but in these opening acts he seemed somewhat inhibited, perhaps because of having to sing the role in English rather then his native Russian.’
    • ‘French, Spanish, German, Russian, and other languages all exerted more influence over the subsequent centuries.’
    • ‘The stopping times and places are in the carriage and despite Russian's Cyrillic script, it's easy to guess where you are and how long you'll stop there.’
    • ‘She also speaks German and Russian, and as a Czech speaker understands Slovak.’
    • ‘But the Cold War was still going on, and obtaining Russian and Chinese speaking translators was given priority.’
    • ‘He speaks Russian, French, Czech and Bulgarian.’


Mid 16th century: from medieval Latin Russianus.