Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An administrative territorial division within Russia and other former Soviet republics, including Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A region or province.

Etymologies

Russian oblast', from Old Church Slavonic oblastĭ : ob, on; + vlastĭ, power.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From a Slavic language, probably Russian область (óblast’, "region, province"), borrowed from Old Church Slavonic область (oblast’), from Proto-Slavic *obolstь, from earlier Proto-Slavic *obvolstь, *obvoldtь, a compound of *o(b)- (“over”) + *volstь (“rule, power, authority”), thus originally probably meaning "a region ruled over". Compare Proto-Slavic *obvoldati (“to rule”). (Wiktionary)

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