Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The secret publication and distribution of government-banned literature in the former Soviet Union.
  • n. The literature produced by this system.
  • n. An underground press.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The secret copying and sharing of illegal publications, chiefly in the Soviet Union; underground publishing and its publications.
  • n. A samizdat publication.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a system of clandestine printing and distribution of dissident or banned literature

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Russian : sam, self; see sem-1 in Indo-European roots + izdatel'stvo, publishing house (from izdat', to publish, on the model of Gosizdat, State Publishing House : iz, from, out of; see eghs in Indo-European roots + dat', to give; see dō- in Indo-European roots).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1967, From Russian самиздат (samizdát, "self-publishing"), from сам (sam, "self") + издат (izdát), abbrev. of издательство (izdátel’stvo, "publishing house"). Compare Russian Госиздат (Gosizdát, "State Publisher").

Examples

  • But of more interest is Hurree's desription of his own, cherished edition of the poem: "For years, like most of my generation, I'd been reading Kolatkar's classic poem-cycle in samizdat form — some of us had copies that had been xeroxed so often that Kolatkar's words assumed ghostly form on the page, some had painstakingly typed (yes, typed, as in on a manual typewriter) copies of the book with corrections made in violet ink."

    A Different Stripe:

  • "For years, it circulated in samizdat on college campuses," wrote Owen, who told me that his profile of Meyer itself circulated in samizdat for five years, until a new editor came across it.

    The Greatest Stories Never Told

  • I should also point out right away that the comparison of these new tech-savvy professional activists to the Soviet-era "samizdat" -- so beloved by many analysts of new media's impact on politics and society -- is not really accurate.

    Singabloodypore

  • Others were passed on, from one to the next, the first instances of the hand to hand publication we later called samizdat.

    In the Jaws of Kronos, Act III, scenes 1 & 2

  • Previously we have called samizdat everything that has been issued illegaly due to censorship reason.

    Russian drawings

  • An underground dissident literature, known as samizdat, developed during this late period.

    Elections - fresh news by plazoo.com

  • Either my writings had become part of the underground circulation called samizdat, or they'd been pulled out of my hypothetical KGB file.

    American Thinker

  • This definition somewhat implies that "samizdat" meant Solzhenitsyn.

    My favourite songs?

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker, of VeriSign Inc., points out the "samizdat" circulation of USB memory stick sharing in Cuba.

    Berkman at 10: Is the Internet Good for Democracy, Or What?

  • I met people in Moscow who read Gorky Park in "samizdat," in other words, somebody had typed out the entire book on carbon, so it was important enough to read that at a time when possession would get you a couple of years in prison.

    Reuters: Top News

Comments

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  • If writing's ignored and lacks allure

    There's a way to gain cachet for sure.

    What strange fame is that?

    You call it samizdat:

    Become well known for being obscure.

    February 13, 2014

  • That sounds very familiar--although to be sure, my samizdat-looking documents have never regarded small craft warnings.

    November 28, 2010

  • "For about five years, beginning in 1995, I worked on the copy desk at the Village Voice. Aiding me in the battle against error were Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, the fourteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style, published in 1993, and a samizdat-looking document containing the house style rules and bearing the enigmatic title "Small Craft Warnings." At any given moment one or all of these vade mecums lay open on my desk; the answer for anything could be found therein."

    --From the article "Typo Analysis: The evolving narratives hidden in a classic style guide," by Ed Park on bookforum.com

    November 25, 2010

  • Used to refer to J. Incandenza's final film, "Infinite Jest" also known as the Entertainment, in David Foster Wallace's novel, Infinite Jest.

    August 26, 2008

  • I've seen this word used a bit more widely. For example in reference to non-mainstream, usually lefty presses. Especially if they also rely on non-mainstream distribution such as pasting their screeds on lamp-posts and so on.

    November 23, 2007

  • Dis? You want dis? It's the samizdat.

    June 16, 2007

  • NOUN: 1a. The secret publication and distribution of government-banned literature in the former Soviet Union. b. The literature produced by this system. 2. An underground press.

    ETYMOLOGY: Russian : sam, self; see sem-1 in Appendix I + izdatel'stvo, publishing house (from izdat', to publish, on the model of Gosizdat, State Publishing House ( iz, from, out of; see eghs in Appendix I + dat', to give; see d- in Appendix I).

    -------------------------------------------------------

    I always thought it was a phonetic misspelling of "same as that" (unauthorized copies). Sadly, finding out that this is not the case doesn't make me like the word any more than I did before (1 - that rhymed, 2 - which was not at all).

    May 4, 2007