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 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, "Natan Sharansky and the Meaning of Freedom," 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, "What Happens When David Mitchell Writes a Rock Novel?," 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, "Don't be a jerk during a global pandemic," 15 May 2020 Texas is the largest of the 14 remaining refusenik states. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: Texas Senate Dems revive the push for Medicaid expansion," 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, "Everyone Loses in This Hedge Fund’s Game of Chicken," 15 Mar. 2019 Greer, who was an activist on behalf of Soviet refuseniks, has served on the New Haven police commissioner’s board and as a chairman of the city’s Redevelopment Agency. Marcy Oster,, "Connecticut rabbi, 79, sentenced to 20 years in jail for sexually assaulting student," 4 Dec. 2019 Facebook’s ranking in the Apple App Store went up after #deletefacebook went viral, probably from refusenik poseurs reinstalling the app after deleting it. Susan Crawford, WIRED, "Mark Zuckerberg Plays the Scapegoat for Our Facebook Sins," 17 Apr. 2018 Once upon a time, Melsor Katzenelenbogen was a celebrated Moscow poet and Soviet-Jewish refusenik. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'The Château': Florida condominium conflict satirizes Trump’s America," 9 Feb. 2018

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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Cite this Entry

“Refusenik.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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