Definition of Ruritanian
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an imaginary place of high romance
Ruritanian was our Word of the Day on 04/04/2011. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
In 1894, British author Anthony Hope published The Prisoner of Zenda, a novel set in the mythical kingdom of Ruritania. The book relates the adventures of Rudolf Rassendyll, a British gentleman who impersonates the king of Ruritania to save him from a treasonous plot. An improbable but high-spirited tale filled with heroes, villains, courtly intrigue, romance, and sword play, Hope's narrative (and its fictional locale) quickly captured the imagination of the public. Within two years of the novel's publication, George Bernard Shaw had seen fit to use "Ruritanian" as a generic adjective: "Our common sense ... must immediately put a summary stop to the somewhat silly Ruritanian gambols of our imagination." Romantic or fanciful places or things have been "Ruritanian" ever since.
Origin and Etymology of ruritanian
Ruritania, fictional kingdom in the novel Prisoner of Zenda (1894) by Anthony Hope
First Known Use: 1896
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