[sah-miz-daht; Russian suh-myiz-daht]


a clandestine publishing system within the Soviet Union, by which forbidden or unpublishable literature was reproduced and circulated privately.
a work or periodical circulated by this system.

Origin of samizdat

1965–70; < Russian samizdát, equivalent to sam(o)- self- + izdát(el'stvo) publishing agency; coined as a jocular allusion to the compound names of official Soviet publishing organs, e.g., Gosizdát for Gosudárstvennoe izdátel'stvo State Publishing House Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for samizdat

Historical Examples of samizdat

  • The bigger the market – the more pressure is applied to clamp down on the samizdat entrepreneurs.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

British Dictionary definitions for samizdat


noun (in the former Soviet Union)

  1. a system of clandestine printing and distribution of banned or dissident literature
  2. (as modifier)a samizdat publication

Word Origin for samizdat

C20: from Russian, literally: self-published
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 samizdat

"illegal and clandestine copying and sharing of literature," 1967, from Russian samizdat, literally "self-publishing," from sam "self" (see same) + izdatel'stvo "publishing" (from iz "from, out of," from PIE *eghs; see ex-; + dat' "to give," from PIE *do-; see date (n.1)). Said to be a word-play on Gosizdat, the former state publishing house of the U.S.S.R. One who took part in it was a samizdatchik (plural samizdatchiki).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper