• synonyms


or re·fus·nik

noun Informal.
  1. a Soviet citizen, usually Jewish, who was denied permission to emigrate from the Soviet Union.
Show More

Origin of refusenik

1970–75; refuse1 + -nik, perhaps translation of Russian otkáznik (unless the Russ word is itself a translation of refusenik)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for refusenik

Contemporary Examples

British Dictionary definitions for refusenik



  1. (formerly) a Jew in the Soviet Union who had been refused permission to emigrate
  2. a person who refuses to cooperate with a system or comply with a law because of a moral conviction
Show More

Word Origin

C20: from refuse 1 + -nik
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 refusenik



"Soviet Jew who has been refused permission to emigrate to Israel," 1975, a partial translation of Russian otkaznik, from otkazat "to refuse;" with English refuse (v.). Also cf. -nik.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper