American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. One of a legendary group of heroic Irish warriors of the second and third centuries A.D.
- n. A member of a secret revolutionary organization in the United States and Ireland in the mid-19th century, dedicated to the overthrow of British rule in Ireland.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A modern English form of Irish Fiann, Fianna, a name applied in Irish tradition to the members of certain tribes who formed the militia of the ardrig or king (see ardrigh) of Eire or Erin (the Fianna Eirionn, or champions of Erin). The principal figure in the Fenian legends is Finn or Find or Fionn, who figures as Fingal in the Ossianic publications of McPherson, in which the name of Ossian stands for Oisin, son of Finn. The Fenians, with their hero Finn, while probably having a historical basis, became the center of a great mass of legends, which may be compared with the legends of King Arthur and the Round Table. In the Ossianic version the Fenians are warriors of super-human size, strength, speed, and prowess. Also Fian, Fion.
- n. A member of an association of Irishmen known as the Fenian Brotherhood, founded in New York in 1857, with a view to secure the independence of Ireland. The movement soon spread over the United States and Ireland (where it absorbed the previously existing Phœnix Society), and among the Irish population of Great Britain, and several attempts were made at insurrection in Ireland, and at invasion of Canada from the United States. The association was organized in district clubs called
circles, presided over by centers, with a head center as chief president and a general senate: an organization afterward modified in some respects. Between 1863 and 1872 eleven “national congresses” were held by the Fenian Brotherhood in the United States, after which it continued in existence as a secret society.
- Of or belonging to the Fenians of Irish legend: as, the Fenian stories; the Fenian period.
- Of or belonging to the organization called the Fenian Brotherhood: as, a Fenian invasion; a Fenian outrage.
- n. UK, Ireland An Irish nationalist or republican.
- n. historical A member of the Fenian Brotherhood or the Irish Republican Brotherhood, Irish republican organizations active in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
- n. derogatory A Catholic, especially one of Irish ethnicity or descent.
- n. derogatory A supporter of Scottish association football club Celtic F.C.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A member of a secret organization, consisting mainly of Irishmen, having for its aim the overthrow of English rule in Ireland.
- adj. Pertaining to Fenians or to Fenianism.
- Blend of Old Irish feinne or fianna, plural of fiann ("soldier"), the name of a legendary band of Irish warriors, and Fene or Féni, legendary settlers of Ireland. First attested from 1816. (Wiktionary)
- From alteration (influenced by féne, body of freemen under early Irish law) of Irish Gaelic fianna, bands of young warriors, from Old Irish fíanna, pl. of fían. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“This cycle of romance is usually called the Fenian cycle because it deals so largely with Finn Mac Cumhail and his Fenian militia.”
“The last of the Dublin Fenian cases were disposed of on”
“Fenian is a term i dont at all mind - cause i do know the orgigins ... but fenian bastard, ans we all know what that is about. and of course there were horrofic atrocities perputated by republicans - kids killed in steet bombs, young women slaughtered in pubs on a night out.”
“Here is what he said: In my communication of the 5th instant, I left the leaders of the so-called Fenian movement under guard at Fort Pembina.”
“I could not admit that the demoniac atrocities, described as Fenian principles by the constabulary-spy Talbot, ever had my sanction or approval or the sanction or approval of any man in America.”
“These communications warrant the President in believing that the so-called Fenian expedition is now entirely, at an end, and that order and tranquility may be expected to prevail henceforth on that border.”
“Incredibly, however, the Police and the Procurator Fiscal, Scotland's CPS, decided that anyone who used the term "Fenian" in a derogatory or negative manner towards those supporting IRA terrorism were being "bigoted or racist" against the Irish community and would be thus arrested and charged with a criminal offence.”
“The name "Fenian" is of very remote antiquity, and appears to be most comprehensive in its signification, and to be peculiarly adapted to the great confraternity of patriots which now engrosses so much of the history of passing events.”
“From what is here stated, it must be obvious, that no more appropriate name than that of "Fenian" could be given to the organization which now holds the destiny of Ireland in its hands, and which has ramified itself throughout almost every portion of the habitable globe.”
“A "Fenian" Claddagh, without the crown, was later designed in Dublin for the Irish Republican community, but that is not an indication that the crown in the original design was intended as a symbol of fidelity to the British crown.”
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