Definition of Samnite in US English:



  • A member of an Oscan-speaking people of southern Italy in ancient times, who spent long periods at war with republican Rome in the 4th to 1st centuries BC.

    • ‘Thus, the alternate reality mode lets you play as the more challenging Celts, Samnites, Picts and other famous Roman antagonists, but you're almost self-assured of victory, provided you have a starting chance.’
    • ‘The temple is said to be of Mephitis, a female deity worshipped by the Samnites, a mysterious ancient people who preceded the Romans in Pompeii.’
    • ‘With a force of 25,000 infantry, 3,000 horse, and 20 elephants he defeated the Romans at Heraclea, though not without loss, and won the support of the Samnites, Lucanians, Bruttians, and Greek cities of the south.’
    • ‘In particular, the Romans fought against the Etruscans and the Samnites.’
    • ‘The city of Rome gradually gained power from the time of the Tarquins, subduing the Etruscans, Sabines, Samnites, and Greek settlers, and by the mid-3rd century BC, controlled Italy.’


  • Relating to the Samnites.

    • ‘Correspondingly, the Roman success ensures that the alternative spectacle anticipated by Papirius will actually come to pass: the Samnite weapons are indeed displayed in triumph and decorate the temples of the Romans and their allies.’
    • ‘He showed a particular vindictiveness against the Samnite troops which his enemies had raised in large numbers, evoking an echo of the Social War.’


From Latin Samnites (plural); related to Sabinus (see Sabine).