gu·​lag ˈgü-ˌläg How to pronounce gulag (audio)
often capitalized
: the penal system of the Soviet Union consisting of a network of labor camps

Examples of gulag in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nikita Khrushchev’s Soviet Union was a murderous gulag. Bryan C. Donohue, Baltimore Sun, 17 Apr. 2024 Around 200,000 Lithuanians were deported to the gulags during that period, or executed for taking up arms against the occupiers. Tomas Dapkus, New York Times, 3 Apr. 2024 The World Wars, the gulags, the camps, the colonies, and so on—these dismal chapters of modernity essentially predate our protagonist’s agreeable personal experience of the political sphere. Willing Davidson, The New Yorker, 11 Mar. 2024 In Moscow on Monday night, a steady trickle of mourners continued to pay respects to Navalny by laying flowers at the Solovetsky stone, a memorial for victims of the Soviet gulags, under the watchful eye of a dozen or so police officers. Robyn Dixon, Emily Rauhala,, 20 Feb. 2024 They have been accused of extrajudicial killings and rape, and torturing people held in the country’s network of gulags. Alex Horton, Washington Post, 26 Jan. 2024 Under a new decree, relatives of people who had defected during the last three years were to be imprisoned in Soviet-style gulags or banished without supplies to a wilderness in the country’s far north. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2023 Several of the women and their family members – their loyalty now suspect – were sentenced to long prison terms in the gulags. Terry W. Hartle, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Nov. 2023 He was arrested and detained in Russia in 2019 and spent nearly three years in a Russian gulag. Dallas News, 14 June 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gulag.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gulag was in 1974

Dictionary Entries Near gulag

Cite this Entry

“Gulag.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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