Definition of Sami in English:


Pronunciation /sɑːm//ˈsɑːmi/

plural noun

  • The Lapps of northern Scandinavia.

    • ‘The story about him, the shaman in a Sami village in Norway, evokes ideas about a religious tradition being kept alive in secret.’
    • ‘Although this legend is told in many places in Norway, it is favoured among the Sami people and features the enemy as the Russians, Swedes or just plain robbers.’
    • ‘To be photographed, she put on her Sami cap: ‘I'll put on my cap so that I get to be a Sami,’ she said.’
    • ‘The Sami of northern Scandinavia used the inner bark of Scots pines for food.’
    • ‘In northern Scandinavia, many rights of the Sami peoples are respected vis-a-vis their traditional pursuits.’
    • ‘There are Samis also in Russia - a fact worth noting, especially when it comes to comparative studies and the indexing of Sami folk literature.’
    • ‘The Sami, like the Inuit, lived in the Arctic for thousands of years before European whalers braved the Northern climate.’
    • ‘He was primarily a linguist; one reason he collected folklore was to document Nordic loanwords in Sami.’
    • ‘On the packed-ice road, it's not uncommon to see an indigenous Sami herding reindeer.’
    • ‘She had had a couple of narratives about Sami shamans, noaidies, so she was asked if it was a fact that some people had the ability to inflict evil on others.’
    • ‘There are also Swedish and other European variants, but there is only one Sami example, which must also have been told by Ellen.’
    • ‘He obtained a PhD in both philology and theology and possessed great knowledge of both the Sami and Finnish languages.’
    • ‘They're dressed, as Sami usually are, in modern clothing with several traditional touches.’
    • ‘The Sami in northern Norway say that time is always coming rather than going.’
    • ‘Some groups of Sami practice reindeer nomadism and range across northern Sweden and Finland.’
    • ‘For many people a new religion is controversial, just as it is for the Christian people in the Sami village mentioned in the newspaper article.’
    • ‘At Opera we will soon release a version of Northern (our italics - ed) Sami.’
    • ‘Today most Sami practice the dominant Lutheran religion of the Nordic countries in which they live.’
    • ‘No one is ever quite sure how the Sami people of Lapland managed to lay such undisputed claim to the fact that Santa Claus abides among them.’
    • ‘It is almost uniquely Finnish, lines in descriptions of the trip to the imaginary world having counterparts in the Kalevala and also in Sami practices.’


Sami is the term by which the Lapps themselves prefer to be known. Its use is becoming increasingly common, although Lapp is still the main term in general use


Lappish, of unknown origin.