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Bolshevik

[bohl-shuh-vik, bol-; Russian buh l-shi-vyeek] /ˈboʊl ʃə vɪk, ˈbɒl-; Russian bəl ʃɪˈvyik/
noun, plural Bolsheviks, Bolsheviki
[bohl-shuh-vik-ee, -vee-kee; Russian buh l-shi-vyi-kyee] /ˈboʊl ʃəˌvɪk i, -ˌvi ki; Russian bəl ʃɪ vyɪˈkyi/ (Show IPA)
1.
  1. a member of the more radical majority of the Social Democratic Party, 1903–17, advocating immediate and forceful seizure of power by the proletariat.
  2. (after 1918) a member of the Russian Communist Party.
2.
(loosely) a member of any Communist party.
3.
Disparaging. an extreme political radical; revolutionary or anarchist.
Also, bolshevik.
Origin
1915-1920
1915-20; < Russian bolʾshevík, equivalent to bólʾsh() larger, greater (comparative of bolʾshóĭ large; compare bolʾshinstvó majority) + -evik, variant of -ovik noun suffix; cf. Menshevik
Related forms
anti-Bolshevik, noun, adjective
non-Bolshevik, noun
pro-Bolshevik, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for Bolshevik

Bolshevik

/ˈbɒlʃɪvɪk/
noun (pl) -viks, -viki (-ˈviːkɪ)
1.
(formerly) a Russian Communist Compare Menshevik
2.
any Communist
3.
(often not capital) (jocular, derogatory) any political radical, esp a revolutionary
Derived Forms
Bolshevism, noun
Bolshevist, adjective, noun
Bolshevistic, adjective
Word Origin
C20: from Russian Bol'shevik majority, from bol'shoi great; from the fact that this group formed a majority of the Russian Social Democratic Party in 1903
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for Bolshevik
n.

1917, from Russian bol'shiy "greater," comparative of adjective bol'shoy "big, great" (cf. Bolshoi Ballet), from Old Church Slavonic boljiji "larger," from PIE root *bel- "strong" (cf. Sanskrit balam "strength, force," Greek beltion "better," Phrygian balaios "big, fast," Old Irish odbal "strong," Welsh balch "proud;" Middle Dutch, Low German, Frisian pal "strong, firm").

It was the faction of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party after a split in 1903 that was either larger or more extreme (or both) than the Mensheviks (from Russian men'shij "less"); after they seized power in 1917, applied generally to Russian communists. Bolshevism is recorded from 1917.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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