from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A usually Jewish citizen of the Soviet Union who was denied permission to emigrate.
  • noun Informal A person who refuses to do something.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Soviet Union, slang One of the Jewish citizens of the former Soviet Union who were refused permission to emigrate.
  • noun colloquial A person characterized by a particular refusal (especially one related to human rights.)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • "Many of the most interesting people I've known have been one-offs. Oddities. Refuseniks. More quirky than communal. Dissidents. Loners. And, of course, it takes so little to be an oddity. A non-conforming belief, a funny hat or odd socks suffice."

    - Phillip Adams in The Weekend Australian Magazine, 2 Feb 2008.

    March 27, 2008

  • *looking at hat and socks*

    March 27, 2008

  • Electoral purists learn new tricks,

    Like playing with poems or Poohsticks,

    To cope with the trial

    Of internal exile

    And abide for a while as refuseniks.

    January 21, 2017