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gulag

[goo-lahg]
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noun (sometimes initial capital letter)
  1. the system of forced-labor camps in the Soviet Union.
  2. a Soviet forced-labor camp.
  3. any prison or detention camp, especially for political prisoners.
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Origin of gulag

1970–75; < Russian Gulág, acronym from Glávnoe upravlénie ispravítelʾno-trudovýkh lageréĭ Main Directorate of Corrective Labor Camps
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for gulag

Gulag

noun
  1. (formerly) the central administrative department of the Soviet security service, established in 1930, responsible for maintaining prisons and forced labour camps
  2. (not capital) any system used to silence dissents
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Word Origin

C20: from Russian G (lavnoye) U (pravleniye Ispravitelno-Trudovykh) Lag (erei) Main Administration for Corrective Labour Camps
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 gulag

n.

system of prisons and labor camps, especially for political detainees, in the former Soviet Union; rough acronym from Russian Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitel'no-trudovykh lagerei "Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps," set up in 1931.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gulag in Culture

gulag

[(gooh-lahg)]

A system of prison camps inside the former Soviet Union used for political prisoners. Under Joseph Stalin, millions of prisoners in these camps died from starvation and maltreatment. This system was given worldwide attention in the writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Gulag is an acronym in Russian of the name meaning Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.