Definition of refusenik in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈfjuːznɪk/


1A Jew in the former Soviet Union who was refused permission to emigrate to Israel.
Example sentences
  • In 1973, after being denied permission to emigrate to Israel, he became one of the leading Jewish refuseniks lobbying for greater human rights in Brezhnev's Soviet Union.
  • The director of Aish HaTorah's Russian Program is Rabbi Eliyahu Essas, a former refusenik from the Soviet Union.
  • The refuseniks have insisted on their loyalty to the state of Israel and commitment to Zionism.
2A person who refuses to follow orders or obey the law, especially as a protest.
Example sentences
  • He is, of course, one of the great media survivors, or counterpunchers, or refuseniks, of our political age.
  • In one sense, Schaller correctly assesses the New Paradigm refuseniks as mourners for the lost order.
  • People might be interested in this site set up by Israeli refuseniks, that is reservists in the Israeli Army who have refused to fight in the occupied territories. 21 conscientious objectors are in jail so far for refusing to serve.


1970s: from refuse1 + -nik.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re¦fuse|nik

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