Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/world/europe/obama-widens-sanctions-against-russia.html?_r=1

The administration also barred business dealings with eight state-owned defense firms; four Russian government officials, including an aide to Mr. Putin and a top official in the Federal Security Service; an oil shipping facility in Crimea, which Moscow annexed; a pro-Russian separatist leader; and the rump rebel organizations in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

What is the meaning of the word rump when it's used as an adjective? I looked it up in a dictionary, but couldn't come to a conclusion on what it might mean as used in the example senetence.


Rump here means the small, unimportant remnants or left overs from something larger. MW def. 3, Oxford def. 2. Rump rebel organizations is a compound noun phrase, lumping all the words together to form a single idea. Rump steak works the same way grammatically; it means a cut of beef from the hindquarters of a cow.

Here the author is talking about groups which now don't have much or any major significance, and originally were notable rebel factions. The rebel groups broke up, and now there are only small knots of them remaining.


You are right in saying that rump here is "used as" an adjective : it has the place of the adjective and it qualifies the noun "organization". But grammatically it is still a noun.

It is common to use a noun to qualify another noun, a few examples :

a love story
a family car
a country house
a guest house

Nouns used as adjectives:

  • are always singular except when these nouns are usually used in the plural like "clothes":

    family houses
    a clothes shop

  • always come before the noun

  • there may be more than one noun used to qualify another noun :

    a rump rebel organization

  • when several adjectives and nouns are used to qualify a noun, the adjectives are placed before the qualifying nouns in front of the qualified noun :

    a big old country house

The rump is the rear part of an animal. In your quote it means the remaining part of whatever organizations existed before. It was first used with that meaning in the Rump Parliament


The "rump" in reference to meat, is an "end" piece that's less desirable or "choice."

In 1939, when Hitler occupied the (modern) Czech Republic and left the remainder, Slovakia, nominally independent, Slovakia was referred to as a "rump" state.

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