From Proto-Slavic *volxъ (“speaker of a Romance language”), from Proto-Germanic *walhaz (“non-Germanic foreigner, Celt; later Roman”). Presumably introduced into Slavic around the 7th century, but first recorded only in the 11th century in Byzantine Greek. In English used as a synonym of "Wallachian" from the 19th century. The word is etymologically distantly related to Wales/Welsh, Walloon, and Gaul. Doublet of Gaul.
Vlach (plural Vlachs or Vlach)
- A Wallachian.
- A Romanian.
- Any member of an Eastern Romance speaking group, including Romanians, Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians.
- Any member of a Polish ethnographic group (subgroup of Silesians) living around the towns of Cieszyn and Skoczów
The third sense above, meaning any member of an Eastern Romance speaking group of people, is among the most commonly used today, and in many cases can refer particularly or more so to Balkan groups other than Romanians themselves, such as Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, etc. (often including the Romanian-speaking minority of eastern Serbia), or to refer to migrations of Romanian speakers to other parts of Eastern and Central Europe in the past (outside Romania or before the modern state's formation), and the regions historically occupied and influenced by these people (e.g. Moravian Wallachia or parts of southern Poland). However, these usages depend on the context, and some may be more colloquial than others, as there is not a uniform consensus on the precise definition of Vlach by all users of the word. Strictly speaking, and as often used by academics, the word is inclusive of Romanians/Wallachians as well as the other related groups, but when referring to Romanians, is especially used in a historical context.
- Definition of Vlach from Encyclopedia Britannica
- Definition for Vlach from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
- Definition of Vlach from Online Explanatory Dictionary of the Romanian Language