Definitions

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

  • A region of central and eastern Russia stretching from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Inhabited by a variety of peoples including the Ostyak, Chukchi, Evenki, and Yakut, the extensive area was annexed by Russia in stages during the 16th and 17th centuries. Used as a place of exile for political prisoners since the early 17th century, it was settled by Russians after the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad (completed in 1905) and developed for its mineral resources after World War II.
  • n. A remote undesirable locale: "exiled to the Registry of Motor Vehicles—the Siberia of state government” ( Howie Carr).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. The region of Russia in Asia, stretching from the Urals to the Pacific Ocean.
  • n. a cold, inhospitable place or place of exile

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a vast Asian region of Russia; famous for long cold winters

Etymologies

Adopted in the 17th century, from Russian Сибирь. In origin the Tatar name of a 14th-century fortress at Qashliq (Tobolsk) which became the capital of the 16th-century Khanate of Sibir, in 16th century Russian usage extended to the entire area of what is now Tyumen Oblast, and with the ongoing Russian conquest of Siberia by the 19th century to the larger area of Russia's Asian territories beyond the Ob River. (Wiktionary)

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