ap·​pa·​rat·​chik | \ ˌä-pə-ˈrä(t)-chik How to pronounce apparatchik (audio) \
plural apparatchiks also apparatchiki\ ˌä-​pə-​ˈrä(t)-​chi-​kē How to pronounce apparatchiki (audio) \

Definition of apparatchik

1 : a member of a Communist apparat
2 : a blindly devoted official, follower, or member of an organization (such as a corporation or political party) a movie studio apparatchik

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Did You Know?

In the context of the definition of "apparatchik" (a term English speakers borrowed from Russian), "apparat" essentially means "party machine." An "apparatchik," therefore, is a cog in the system of the Communist Party. The term is not an especially flattering one, and its negative connotations reflect the perception that some Communists were obedient drones in the great Party machine. In current use, however, a person doesn't have to be a member of the Communist Party to be called an "apparatchik"; he or she just has to be someone who mindlessly follows orders in an organization or bureaucracy.

Examples of apparatchik in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

At the party headquarters one recent morning, young experts with doctorates from some of the world’s best universities rubbed shoulders with smoking, cursing party apparatchiks, as three Greek Orthodox priests visited. New York Times, "Greece Liked to Underestimate Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Now He’s Prime Minister.," 8 July 2019 Would Trump behave like a Soviet apparatchik if a Chernobyl-sized national emergency happened? Kyle Smith, National Review, "Chernobyl: Devastating Indictment of Socialism, Not Trumpism," 5 June 2019 Meanwhile Soviet apparatchiks who run the plant refuse to admit the scale of the disaster. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "HBO’s New Miniseries Chernobyl Will Give You Nightmares," 4 May 2019 He's expanded sanctions on Russian companies in apparatchik. Fox News, "Mark Levin on media freakout over Trump-Putin summit," 18 July 2018 So even though the Armando Iannucci political satire was just days from its Russian premiere, the opening of a comedy about bloodthirsty apparatchiks still felt like a long shot. Andrew Roth, Washington Post, "Russia bans the darkly comic film ‘Death of Stalin’," 23 Jan. 2018 Distant, out-of-touch private managers could simply be replaced by distant, out-of-touch public bosses or by party apparatchiks. The Economist, "Corbynomics would change Britain—but not in the way most people think," 17 May 2018 Another useful model can be found in Ukraine, where a Russian oligarch backed the 2010 political campaign of the pro-Russian apparatchik Viktor Yanukovych. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Will Trump Be Meeting With His Counterpart — Or His Handler?," 8 July 2018 This weekend, Trump praised a Wall Street Journal op-ed by David Rivkin and Elizabeth Price Foley, two conservative legal apparatchiks. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Latest and Most Insane New Theory for Shutting Down Mueller Probe," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'apparatchik.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of apparatchik

1941, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for apparatchik

Russian, from apparat

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Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for apparatchik

The first known use of apparatchik was in 1941

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English Language Learners Definition of apparatchik

disapproving : a very loyal member of an organization (such as a company or political party) who always obeys orders

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