Try Our Apps


The saddest words


or bolshevik

[bohl-shuh-vik, bol-; Russian buh l-shi-vyeek] /ˈboʊl ʃə vɪk, ˈbɒl-; Russian bəl ʃɪˈvyik/
noun, plural Bolsheviks, Bolsheviki
[bohl-shuh-vik-ee, -vee-kee; Russian buh l-shi-vyi-kyee] /ˈboʊl ʃəˌvɪk i, -ˌvi ki; Russian bəl ʃɪ vyɪˈkyi/ (Show IPA)
  1. a member of the more radical majority of the Social Democratic Party, 1903–17, advocating immediate and forceful seizure of power by the proletariat.
  2. (after 1918) a member of the Russian Communist Party.
(loosely) a member of any Communist party.
(often lowercase) Disparaging. a contemptuous term used to refer to an extreme radical or revolutionary.
Origin of Bolshevik
1915-20; < Russian bolʾshevík, equivalent to bólʾsh(iĭ) larger, greater (comparative of bolʾshóĭ large; compare bolʾshinstvó majority) + -evik, variant of -ovik noun suffix; cf. Menshevik
Related forms
anti-Bolshevik, noun, adjective
non-Bolshevik, noun
pro-Bolshevik, adjective, noun
Usage note
When Bolshevik is used to refer to an extreme radical, it implies that such a person has a strongly felt subversive or combative ideology counter to the status quo. The 20-century poets T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound were called literary Bolsheviks by a writer in a London newspaper. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for Bolshevik
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He's got one of his spies there now, a Bolshevik like himself.

    A Poor Wise Man Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • The Bolshevik band will be here in less than twenty-four hours.

    Panther Eye Roy J. Snell
  • In the lobby something of a fracas was proceeding between a member of the Russian delegation and a Bolshevik refugee.

    Mystery at Geneva Rose Macaulay
  • Gay cannot be a Bolshevik, because he is too well educated and too clever for it.

    Beasts, Men and Gods Ferdinand Ossendowski
  • This they asserted had been done in numberless cases where the families were in Bolshevik hands.

British Dictionary definitions for Bolshevik


noun (pl) -viks, -viki (-ˈviːkɪ)
(formerly) a Russian Communist Compare Menshevik
any Communist
(often not capital) (jocular, derogatory) any political radical, esp a revolutionary
Derived Forms
Bolshevism, noun
Bolshevist, adjective, noun
Bolshevistic, adjective
Word Origin
C20: from Russian Bol'shevik majority, from bol'shoi great; from the fact that this group formed a majority of the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1903
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for Bolshevik

1917, from Russian bol'shiy "greater," comparative of adjective bol'shoy "big, great" (cf. Bolshoi Ballet), from Old Church Slavonic boljiji "larger," from PIE root *bel- "strong" (cf. Sanskrit balam "strength, force," Greek beltion "better," Phrygian balaios "big, fast," Old Irish odbal "strong," Welsh balch "proud;" Middle Dutch, Low German, Frisian pal "strong, firm").

It was the faction of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party after a split in 1903 that was either larger or more extreme (or both) than the Mensheviks (from Russian men'shij "less"); after they seized power in 1917, applied generally to Russian communists. Bolshevism is recorded from 1917.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for Bolshevik

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for Bolshevik

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for bolshevik