re·​fuse·​nik | \ ri-ˈfyüz-(ˌ)nik How to pronounce refusenik (audio) \
variants: or less commonly refusnik

Definition of refusenik

1 : a Soviet citizen and especially a Jew refused permission to emigrate
2 : a person who refuses or declines something

Examples of refusenik in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Vaccine mandates by large companies and government agencies, many of them imposed at President Biden’s behest, seem to be working—without vaccine-refusenik workers quitting en masse, as threatened. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 1 Oct. 2021 Can the host forbid entry or try to make a refusenik toe the line? Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture, 1 Dec. 2021 If the refusal to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge was sure to earn the Republican refusenik a potent primary challenge from the right, a denying Trump’s election lies as a gospel truth will likely lead to the same punishment. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 7 July 2021 Natan Sharansky has been a computer scientist, a chess player, a refusenik, a dissident, a political prisoner, a party leader, a government minister, a nonprofit executive, and a bestselling author. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 28 Nov. 2020 Nor does everyone feel oppressed by celebrity; all that star-maker machinery has to get stoked with something, and for every Dylanesque refusenik in the world there are ten thousand volunteers for fame. Jonathan Dee, The New Yorker, 29 June 2020 From pedestrians who won't make space on the sidewalk to #nomask refuseniks, encounters with pandemic jerks are a nearly universal Covid-19 phenomenon. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, 15 May 2020 Texas is the largest of the 14 remaining refusenik states. Gilbert Garcia,, 24 Apr. 2020 Interserve’s register is otherwise dominated by retail investors, so a low turnout meant the refuseniks carried the day. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2019

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

1973, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for refusenik

partial translation of Russian otkaznik, from otkaz refusal

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The first known use of refusenik was in 1973

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Last Updated

21 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Refusenik.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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