from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- A region of Moldova and western Ukraine. As the gateway from Russia into the Danube River valley, it was for centuries an invasion route from Asia to Europe. The region became part of Russia in 1812 but declared itself independent in 1918 and later voted for union with Romania, which was forced to cede it to the USSR in 1940.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- proper n. A geographic region in Eastern Europe bounded by the Dniester River on the east and the Prut River on the west. Now divided between Moldova and Ukraine.
From Romanian Basarabia (cf. Ukrainian Бессарабія), after the royal House of Basarab. (Wiktionary)