Definition of Bolshevik in English:



  • 1A member of the majority faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party, which seized power in the October Revolution of 1917.

    • ‘By early September Bolsheviks held majorities in both the Moscow and Petrograd Soviets, and Lenin urged his followers to seize power.’
    • ‘By the end of the war, Woodrow Wilson hoped for a liberal revolution in Germany, whereas the Bolsheviks anticipated a socialist revolution.’
    • ‘I am sure you know the circumstances under which the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917.’
    • ‘So how did the Russian Marxists, the Bolsheviks, respond?’
    • ‘When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, few observers outside Russia expected the new regime to survive even one month.’
    collectivist, leftist, socialist, radical socialist, anti-capitalist
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1derogatory (in general use) a person with politically subversive or radical views; a revolutionary.
      • ‘He is like an old Bolshevik, wringing his hands over the murderous policies of his Stalinist progeny.’
      • ‘On his return, he refused to let Bolsheviks use his daredevil skills.’
      • ‘He is first of all a Bolshevik, which for the author means a disciplined, ruthless person ready to use violence whenever necessary.’
      • ‘It was compassion and its absence, he said, which marked the difference between Englishmen and Bolsheviks.’
      • ‘As the idea of modernism and design was yet to reach New Zealand, the ‘radical’ man was often denounced as a Bolshevik.’
      • ‘Don't get involved with your unit's representative association because you'll be marked as being a Bolshevik.’
      • ‘It took almost all of Bill's three-minute speech for the webcasters to notice that Aitken was not a Bolshevik.’
      • ‘The Bolsheviks in Beatle boots are back, more entrenched than ever in the corporate machine but not an ounce less mouthy on the Marxist tip.’
      • ‘Early last century, the Bolshevik was plotting the overthrow of capitalism.’
      rebel, insurgent, revolutionist, mutineer, insurrectionary, agitator, subversive, guerrilla, anarchist
      View synonyms


  • Relating to or characteristic of Bolsheviks or Bolshevism.

    ‘the Bolshevik revolution’
    • ‘However, after the Bolshevik revolution, state communism began to dominate the non-social democratic wings of the labour movement at the expense of more heterodox forms of socialism.’
    • ‘Aside from shaking one's head at this disconnect from reality, one can only recall Czar Alexander's diary entry on the eve of the Bolshevik revolution, which noted the weather and what he had for breakfast.’
    • ‘Veteran students joined senior faculty in resisting Bolshevik assaults on academic autonomy.’
    • ‘It was far from the days when Bolshevik women activists veiled themselves to conduct political work in the mosques.’
    • ‘Next to Lenin, extending in rows and in diminishing size, one recognises other Bolshevik leaders, with Trotsky prominently present.’
    • ‘In the early years after the Bolshevik revolution, some U.S. diplomats who had begun to specialize in Soviet affairs believed that we should have as few dealings with the USSR as possible.’
    • ‘As the conflict progressed, Bolshevik propagandists proved themselves masters of their trade, turning the minds of British soldiers and Russians alike, often with devastating consequences.’
    • ‘With the overturn of the old Bolshevik perspective, the Revolution was able to go forward because an alternative strategy had already been developed in the form of the theory of permanent revolution fought for by Trotsky since 1905.’
    • ‘As new troops reached the front, Bolshevik propagandists galvanised their own campaign, beginning with radio transmissions and culminating in the appearance of a new leaflet called The Call.’
    • ‘The success of the Bolshevik revolution produced a realignment of the left and the Communist Party was founded in 1920.’
    • ‘Despite his hostility to Marxism, he insisted that the revolution was not a Bolshevik coup but a massive social revolt involving millions of workers and peasants.’
    • ‘The liquidation of every last remnant of Lenin's Bolshevik party could not be completed, however, while Trotsky remained alive, for he was the most farsighted revolutionary thinker of his age.’
    • ‘Notwithstanding her criticisms of certain aspects of Bolshevik policies and actions, she left no doubt as to her immense admiration for the work of Lenin and Trotsky.’
    • ‘British failure owed much to Bolshevik superiority not in military terms, but in terms of the ability to shape events through the use of an effective propaganda machine.’
    • ‘Fear of anarchy and of Bolshevik insurrection were elements common to all forms of fascism and important in attracting the support of the middle classes and petty bourgeoisie.’
    • ‘In one interview, Tennant said, ‘Battleship Potemkin is a Bolshevik propaganda film.’’
    • ‘The revolution led by the Bolshevik party was bound up with, and inspired, a broader international working class struggle against the depredations of capitalism.’
    • ‘He not only stayed, but also undertook huge re-organisational tasks for the Bolshevik government.’
    • ‘As civil war intensified, Bolshevik attitudes hardened, so that what began as a pragmatic restriction hardened into a determination to be rid of the opposition parties once and for all.’
    • ‘The point was to minimize Bolshevik embarrassment caused by the relief effort and, where possible, to take the credit for the Soviet government.’
    left-wing, fabian, syndicalist, utopian socialist
    View synonyms


Russian, from bolʹshe ‘greater’ (with reference to the greater faction).