• synonyms


[ koo-lahk, -lak; koo-lahk, -lak ]
/ kʊˈlɑk, -ˈlæk; ˈku lɑk, -læk /

noun (in Russia)

a comparatively wealthy peasant who employed hired labor or possessed farm machinery and who was viewed and treated by the Communists during the drive to collectivize agriculture in the 1920s and 1930s as an oppressor and class enemy.
(before the revolution of 1917) a prosperous, ruthless, and stingy merchant or village usurer.

Nearby words

kuksu, kuku, kuku nor, kukui, kula, kulak, kulan, kulebyaka, kuleshov, kuletuk, kulfi

Origin of kulak

First recorded in 1875–80, kulak is from the Russian word kulák literally, fist Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for kulaks

  • Not quite Kulaks for Stalin, maybe, but not exactly all that different either.

    Uh, Compared to What, Log Cabin Republicans?|Michael Tomasky|January 15, 2013|DAILY BEAST
  • They still had some kulaks, a lot of food, and we lived very well.

    Warren Commission (1 of 26): Hearings Vol. I (of 15)|The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

British Dictionary definitions for kulaks


/ (ˈkuːlæk) /


(in Russia after 1906) a member of the class of peasants who became proprietors of their own farms. After the October Revolution the kulaks opposed collectivization of land, but in 1929 Stalin initiated their liquidation

Word Origin for kulak

C19: from Russian: fist, hence, tightfisted person; related to Turkish kol arm
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 kulaks



1877, from Russian kulak (plural kulaki) "tight-fisted person," literally "fist," from Turki (Turkish) kul "hand."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper