Definition of Slav in English:



  • A member of a group of peoples in central and eastern Europe speaking Slavic languages.

    • ‘The Serbs went south, and became known as the South Slavs, or Yugoslavs.’
    • ‘In the mid-nineteenth century, Bosnians joined Slavs from Serbia and Croatia in an uprising against the Turks.’
    • ‘Able-bodied Jews, Russians, Slavs and others to whom the Germans believed themselves to be superior were forced to work as slaves.’
    • ‘Turks, Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Slavs, and Jews were represented.’
    • ‘By the ninth century, Eastern Slavs began to settle in what are now the Ukraine, Belarus, and the Novgorod and Smolensk regions.’
    • ‘However, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia was also under pressure from Slav nationalists, who demanded that their fellow Slavs in Serbia be defended.’
    • ‘Croats also began to look to Serbs and other southern Slavs as people with whom they shared a linguistic and cultural affinity.’
    • ‘He continued to defend the right of Slavs to have liturgies in their own language and read the holy books in this language too.’
    • ‘By the late second century C.E., peoples such as the Slavs, Germans, Huns, and Bohemians began to raid Austria.’
    • ‘Culturally, what difference will 40 million Slavs make to Europe's view of the world?’
    • ‘Greeks, Italians, Slavs, Turks and Russians all composed their own versions; they cannot possibly be reconciled.’
    • ‘Rusyns are eastern Slavs who live in Slovakia, Ukraine, and Poland.’
    • ‘Germany consists of a large number of ethnic groups antipathetic to each other, including Germans, Jews, Bohemians, Slavs and Gypsies.’
    • ‘More and more Croats embraced the idea of unity with the South Slavs, or ‘Yugoslavism.’’
    • ‘More headway was made among the Slavs of central Europe, aided by the relative ease of access and the penumbra of Carolingian power.’
    • ‘In fact, Cyril and Methodius were Greek Orthodox monks from Salonika who brought Orthodoxy to the eastern Slavs.’
    • ‘And thus Asparukh founded a state of Slavs and Bulgars, binding his tribe with the tribal alliance of the seven Slavic tribes and the Severians.’
    • ‘His language was very similar to the language of Slavs living around the town.’
    • ‘The Russians are primarily eastern Slavs, but many also have a Finnish, Siberian, Turkish, or Baltic heritage.’
    • ‘The Slavs called these Scandinavians ‘Rus’, which may be the origin of the name ‘Russia’.’


  • another term for slavic
    • ‘Albanian guerrillas with backing from Kosovo began operating in Macedonia earlier this year, bringing the majority Orthodox Slav country to the brink of civil war.’
    • ‘However, a split between Slav politicians in the government is complicating issues.’
    • ‘The last three weeks have seen its fragile ethnic balance shaken, highlighting differences between the country's three-quarter Slav majority and its substantial Albanian minority.’
    • ‘Leaders of Macedonia's Slav majority, backed by Western governments, have ruled those options out.’
    • ‘They were forced to adopt Slav names and their religious and cultural rights were changed and this process became known as the Revival Process.’


From medieval Latin Sclavus, late Greek Sklabos, later also from medieval Latin Slavus.