Words at Play : Favorite Words From Foreign Languages

#6: Apparatchik

Language of Origin:

Russian

About the Word:

Nowadays, apparatchik is generally used as a mild insult for a blindly devoted official, follower, or member of an organization, such as a corporation or political party.

For example, an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times described a London mayoral candidate as, "a lifelong left-wing activist, a local government apparatchik, a consummate manipulator of subcommittees and votes of confidence."

Originally the word referred specifically to a Communist official or agent. It comes from the Russian apparat meaning "party machine" – and for much of the 20th century specifically "the political machine of the Communist party" – + -chik, an agent suffix.

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