Definition of Fenian in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfēnēən/


1A member of a 19th-century revolutionary nationalist organization among the Irish in the US and Ireland. The Fenians staged an unsuccessful revolt in Ireland in 1867 and were responsible for isolated revolutionary acts against the British until the early 20th century, when they were gradually eclipsed by the IRA.
Example sentences
  • In the mid-century, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Fenians began a genuinely separatist movement, whose support in Irish elections was rarely measured.
  • The most famous were the Fenians and the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
  • They were also consistent in their defence of the Irish Fenians in their struggle against British rule.
2 offensive (Chiefly in Northern Ireland) a derogatory term for a Catholic or Irish nationalist.



Pronunciation: /-izəm/
Example sentences
  • Opposed to both the ethnographic stereotypes voiced by Haines and the militant Fenianism of the Citizen, the narrative perspective seems to concur with Bloom's more prosaic idea of a nation as ‘the same people living in the same place’.
  • A fundamental product of Fenianism's post-1867 reorganization was the acknowledgement that it would support all movements which strove for even partial Irish independence so long as they did not compromise the IRB itself.
  • The number of political street ballads that were written and sold in Dublin about the Manchester martyrs and the Invincible society also indicates that Fenianism did indeed penetrate the popular culture of working-class Dublin.


From Old Irish féne, the name of an ancient Irish people, confused with fíann, fianna (see Fianna Fáil).

Words that rhyme with Fenian

Armenian, Athenian, Magdalenian, Mycenaean (US Mycenean), Slovenian, Tyrrhenian

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: Fe·ni·an

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