or re·fus·nik


noun Informal.

a Soviet citizen, usually Jewish, who was denied permission to emigrate from the Soviet Union.

Nearby words

  1. refurb,
  2. refurbish,
  3. refurbishment,
  4. refusal,
  5. refuse,
  6. refusion,
  7. refutation,
  8. refutative,
  9. refute,
  10. reg

Origin of refusenik

1970–75; refuse1 + -nik, perhaps translation of Russian otkáznik (unless the Russ word is itself a translation of refusenik) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for refusenik

British Dictionary definitions for refusenik




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

Word Origin for refusenik

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper