from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • An island chain of extreme eastern Russia extending about 1,210 km (750 mi) in the Pacific Ocean between Kamchatka and eastern Hokkaido, Japan. The volcanic, largely uninhabited islands were held by Japan from 1875 to 1945.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • proper noun A group of islands between Japan and Kamchatka, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • "The Kuril Islands are a simple, symbolic way for Russia to show it's in Asia to stay," said Fyodor Lukyanov, a foreign-policy analyst in Moscow.

    Russia, Japan Fail To Calm Tensions Gregory L. White 2011

  • Residents in Russia's Far East bought up potassium iodide pills to prevent radiation sickness while military units based on the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands just north of Japan prepared to evacuate if the nuclear threat worsens.

    Nuclear Anxiety Spreads to Japan's Neighbors, Some of It via Text Message James Hookway 2011

  • The decades-long dispute over the Kuril Islands may well be Russia's way of focusing on its real long-term adversary: China.

    Russia Fears China, Not Japan Michael Auslin 2011

  • The first was the visit of Russia's defense minister to one of the four Kuril Islands for a "military inspection trip," following on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's stop there last year.

    Russia Fears China, Not Japan Michael Auslin 2011

  • Third, Russia will deploy advanced S-400 surface-to-air missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles to protect the Kuril Islands.

    Russia Fears China, Not Japan Michael Auslin 2011

  • An emergency official in the Kuril Islands said that the "people who were evacuated in connection with the tsunami have already returned home some time ago."

    Russians Rush for Iodine Pills William Mauldin 2011

  • Less than a month ago the Russian government seemed locked in an escalating war of words with Japan over the four disputed Kuril Islands, going so far as to threaten the deployment of the S-400 air defense systems and Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles to protect the territories.

    Simon Saradzhyan: Russia Presses Ahead With Nuclear Plants After Japan Crisis Simon Saradzhyan 2011

  • Russian military units stationed on the island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, which are disputed with Japan, prepared for a possible evacuation because of the nuclear threat, only days after they were warned about the tsunami.

    Russians Rush for Iodine Pills William Mauldin 2011

  • The Kuril Islands are in an area with rich fishing waters and natural gas deposts.

    Disputed Isles 2011

  • Russian authorities on the Kuril Islands, northeast of Japan, evacuated more than 11,000 residents from coastal areas as waves as high as 10 feet hit the shore, according to Russia's Emergencies Ministry.

    Japan earthquake, tsunami said to kill hundreds; little impact on Hawaii, other islands 2011


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