Definition of Varangian in English:



  • Any of the Scandinavian voyagers who traveled by land and up rivers into Russia in the 9th and 10th centuries AD, establishing the Rurik dynasty and gaining great influence in the Byzantine Empire.

    • ‘The Imperial army marched out to meet them, led by the Varangians, eager to get into the fight.’
    • ‘In the ninth century, the Varangians were forced to retreat in the face of Slavonic defenders of Novgorod, who were well armed with iron spears and swords.’
    • ‘Much of the ensuing progress is attributed to the Varangians who visited Rus in the mid-ninth century.’
    • ‘They appear in the chronicles as the Varangians, famous for their fighting ability.’


From medieval Latin Varangus (a name ultimately from Old Norse, probably based on vár pledge) + -ian.