Definition of babushka in English:


Pronunciation /bəˈbʊʃkə//ˈbabʊʃˌkə/


  • 1(in Russia) an old woman or grandmother.

    • ‘Standing behind them was Ivan, Andrei and Alexis and at the front, sitting in front of father and Nadeja was Natalia and I, both dressed in our best white muslin dresses that our babushka had bought us.’
    • ‘In 1989, I walked into a church near Boris Pasternak's dacha and heard priests and babushkas reciting the litany with perfect recall as if seventy-two years of repression had never happened.’
    • ‘I visited one babushka's home to monitor the use of mobile ballot boxes.’
    • ‘Kaliningrad is still garrisoned by a shadowy regiment of these babushkas, left over from a time when it was illegal not to work.’
    • ‘At other times he acts like a bold market reformer, risking the ire of babushkas from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok by cutting popular communist-era benefits such as free transportation and medicine for retirees and veterans.’
    • ‘My babushka was called Ceceila, an unusual name in Russia.’
    • ‘Inspired by the intrepid babushka, I overcame the inbred fear of Russian salesmen and requested that my order be warmed as well.’
    • ‘What makes these protests potentially more powerful than those of 1998 is that so many Russian families have a pensioner - often a beloved babushka caring for the grandchildren.’
    • ‘They vie for pavement space with old babushkas selling everything from flowers to cigarettes to kittens in socks, calendar style.’
    • ‘The children continued their swimming exercises in the pond, and the babushkas proceeded with their grave and slow discussions about their grandchildren, prices, and pensions.’
    • ‘At the same time though I feel like telling them, this idea is not far wrong, the only difference being that all the bears are dead and draped over the shoulders of big boisterous Russian babushkas.’
    • ‘The only thing more Russian than bortsch and babushkas is - uh, rock 'n' roll?’
    • ‘A babushka, very well dressed and apparently well off (these are the worst kind), decided that it was her duty to inform me that I shouldn't smoke.’
    • ‘Although we adored staying with our dedushka and babushka, it was too near our own home for us to be comfortable.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we give up the nervous fingering of the beads of the grandmas and the babushkas?’
    • ‘Grumans serves all the Old World deli favourites, but out of loyalty I have to say that, while the food was great, it was only almost as good as my babushka's cooking.’
    • ‘This said, they turn their backs on the bewildered babushka and ride off.’
    • ‘However, I found the perennial Russian babushkas, old ladies who usually chat on the benches, and they pointed out the library, which is small and unimposing.’
    • ‘Even matriarchs, the babushkas who enable Ukrainian families to survive, support patriarchy.’
    • ‘The losers walk away with their tails between their legs as small children hurl rocks at them and wizened babushkas cackle insults in obscure Slavic dialects.’
    grandma, granny
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American A headscarf tied under the chin, typical of those traditionally worn by Russian women.
      • ‘The platform on which the Yanobe figure stood was rimmed with photos of the artist posing in Chernobyl with children, older women in babushkas, or in a church or an abandoned house.’
      • ‘She wears sunglasses and a babushka and smokes cigarettes through a long plastic filter that looks like a pipe stem.’
      • ‘Women may wear peasant babushkas on their heads, and men may wear hats with floppy brims.’
      • ‘Still panting, Ermo slowly removes her babushka and the many layers of her winter clothing, as a perplexed Xiazi looks on passively.’
      • ‘This headcovering is often referred to as a babushka, named after the Russian word for ‘grandmother.’’
      • ‘Top hats, bowlers and gem-encrusted crowns are all considered ‘clean’, while babushkas, fedoras and coon-skin hats are all regarded as ‘filthy’.’
      • ‘There is little for them to do apart from watch terns nesting on window sills, feed the 45-year-old bull on Russian hay, sell babushkas to tourists in the hope of US dollars and visit the (usually closed) museum.’
      • ‘Headscarves, kerchiefs, but not babushkas are definitely in.’
      • ‘The NATO bombing also produced imagery that performs a phantasmatic imaginary, an epic Hollywood film where mighty men and high-tech bombing machines save Kosovar women in babushkas and elderly Albanians in wheelbarrows.’
      • ‘The movie opens with a scrupulously framed shot of the peasant woman Ermo, wrapped in her dull yellow babushka, hawking twisted noodles at the outskirts of an unnamed northern Chinese village.’
      • ‘Now ladies, I'm not saying we should all follow our bubbies and throw on a babushka - I'm just saying, sometimes a little cover up goes a long way.’
      • ‘Directly across the car from me, next to an old woman with a gaudy cabbage rose print babushka over thinning white hair, is a young man I cannot take my eyes off of for long.’
      • ‘I even got permission from some little old ladies, babushkas and all, to have my picture taken with them.’


Russian, ‘grandmother’.