noun, often capitalized
gu·​lag | \ ˈgü-ˌläg How to pronounce gulag (audio) \

Definition of gulag

: the penal system of the U.S.S.R. consisting of a network of labor camps also : labor camp sense 1

Examples of gulag in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web It was founded in the 1940s as a gulag camp for mining tin and uranium, where the prisoners died in great numbers. New York Times, 22 Oct. 2021 The Nobel Prize-winning Solzhenitsyn exposed the Soviet system’s cruelty against some of its brightest minds trapped in the gulag, or prison camps. Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2021 Here, the gulag is more than merely a memory, and a residual fear hangs in the air even today. Anna Nemtsova, The Atlantic, 26 Oct. 2021 Korolev had already begun a promising career as an aircraft designer when, in 1938, then 31, he was arrested during the campaign of political repression under Stalin, and sent to a gulag camp in northern Siberia to work in gold mines. Alina Lobzina, ABC News, 15 Oct. 2021 Landers, a professional actor, plays a ruthless guard who takes the audience to the gulag. Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 Sep. 2021 Gone are the shifts of heavy labor in mining or forestry and the harrying by criminals and guards alike that was the hallmark of the Soviet gulag for political prisoners. New York Times, 25 Aug. 2021 Think of his close friend Armando Valladares, another poet, who survived the Cuban gulag — 22 years — and wrote a memoir, Against All Hope. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 2 Aug. 2021 The group decided to form an archive, museum and library to memorialize those who were imprisoned or died in the Soviet gulag, a system of brutal prison camps. Washington Post, 9 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gulag.' 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 gulag

1974, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gulag

Russian, from Glavnoe upravlenie ispravitel'notrudovykh lagereĭ chief administration of corrective labor camps

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gulag.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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