[soh-vee-et, -it, soh-vee-et]


(in the Soviet Union).
  1. (before the revolution) any governmental council.
  2. (after the revolution) a local council, originally elected only by manual workers, with certain powers of local administration.
  3. (after the revolution) a higher council elected by a local council, being part of a hierarchy of soviets culminating in the Supreme Soviet.
any similar council or assembly connected with a socialistic governmental system elsewhere.
(initial capital letter) Often Soviets. a governing official or person living in the Soviet Union: The Soviets have denied our charge.


of or relating to a soviet.
(initial capital letter) of the Soviet Union: a Soviet statesman.

Nearby words

  1. sovereign,
  2. sovereigntist,
  3. sovereignty,
  4. sovereignty association,
  5. sovetsk,
  6. soviet bloc,
  7. soviet central asia,
  8. soviet of nationalities,
  9. soviet of the union,
  10. soviet russia

Origin of soviet

1915–20; < Russian sovét council, counsel, advice, Old Russian, OCS sŭvětŭ, equivalent to sŭ- together, with + větŭ counsel; calque of Greek symboúlion

Related formsso·vi·et·dom [soh-vee-et-duh m, -it-, soh-vee-et-] /ˈsoʊ viˌɛt dəm, -ɪt-, ˌsoʊ viˈɛt-/, nounan·ti-So·vi·et, noun, adjectivepro-So·vi·et, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for soviets

British Dictionary definitions for soviets



the people or government of the former Soviet Union



(in the former Soviet Union) an elected government council at the local, regional, and national levels, which culminated in the Supreme Soviet
(in prerevolutionary Russia) a local revolutionary council


of or relating to a soviet

Word Origin for soviet

C20: from Russian sovyet council, from Old Russian sŭvĕtŭ



of, characteristic of, or relating to the former Soviet Union, its people, or its government
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 soviets



1917, from Russian sovet "governing council," literally "council," from Old Russian suvetu "assembly," from su "with" (from *su(n)- "with, together," from PIE *ksun- "with") + vetu "counsel." The whole is a loan-translation of Greek symboulion "council of advisers." As an adjective from 1918.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper