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Bolshevik

or bol·she·vik

[bohl-shuh-vik, bol-; Russian buh l-shi-vyeek]
noun, plural Bol·she·viks, Bol·she·vik·i [bohl-shuh-vik-ee, -vee-kee; Russian buh l-shi-vyi-kyee] /ˈboʊl ʃəˌvɪk i, -ˌvi ki; Russian bəl ʃɪ vyɪˈkyi/.
  1. (in Russia)
    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.
  2. (loosely) a member of any Communist party.
  3. (often lowercase) Disparaging. a contemptuous term used to refer to an extreme radical or revolutionary.
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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 formsan·ti-Bol·she·vik, noun, adjectivenon-Bol·she·vik, nounpro-Bol·she·vik, 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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for bolshevik

comrade, sympathizer, red, Marxist, pinko, Commie, apparatchik, Socialist, Bolshevist, Trotskyite, Bolshevik, Maoist, Stalinist, Leninist

Examples from the Web for bolshevik

Contemporary Examples of bolshevik

Historical Examples of bolshevik

  • Gay cannot be a Bolshevik, because he is too well educated and too clever for it.

    Beasts, Men and Gods

    Ferdinand Ossendowski

  • I did not fear him because I saw that he was not a Bolshevik and later had confirmation of this.

    Beasts, Men and Gods

    Ferdinand Ossendowski

  • In Russia "Bolshevik" means majority, and "Menshevik" minority.

  • It was only a matter of moments until the whole Bolshevik band would be upon him.

    Panther Eye

    Roy J. Snell

  • The Bolshevik band will be here in less than twenty-four hours.

    Panther Eye

    Roy J. Snell


British Dictionary definitions for bolshevik

Bolshevik

noun plural -viks or -viki (-ˈviːkɪ)
  1. (formerly) a Russian CommunistCompare Menshevik
  2. any Communist
  3. (often not capital) jocular, derogatory any political radical, esp a revolutionary
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Derived FormsBolshevism, nounBolshevist, adjective, nounBolshevistic, adjective

Word Origin for Bolshevik

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

Word Origin and History for bolshevik

Bolshevik

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper