- Russian History. a member of the old nobility of Russia, before Peter the Great made rank dependent on state service.
- a member of a former privileged class in Romania.
(1590s, "member of a Russian aristocratic class (abolished by Peter the Great)," from Rus. boyarin, perhaps from boji "struggle," or from O.Slav. root bol- "great.")
"When January dawned in 1924, Vladimir (a year older than the century) was in Prague, helping his mother and his two younger sisters settle into their cheap and freezing new apartment... These former boyars were now displaced and deracinated—and had 'no money at all.'"
- Martin Amis, "Oktober", 7 December 2015 The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/12/07/oktober)