Author Topic: bolshy/bolshie  (Read 835 times)


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« on: May 22, 2018, 01:15:09 AM »
I would like to propose that the word bolshy, found as a common word in the HOSPITABLY puzzle of 20 May 2018, along with its companion spelling, bolshie, be reclassified as less common. I was not familiar with these words prior to their appearance in Chihuahua, and dictionaries indicate that their usage is primarily in the UK. The Google nGram viewer shows that usage in the UK is approximately six times greater than in American English. While not a scientifically based indicator, bolshie has been used only once in the Forum, and that was by a native and resident of the UK.
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Re: bolshy/bolshie
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2018, 03:39:10 AM »
Yes, certainly very common here, I think, and much more in speech than writing. (I see the word is described as "dated", which I didn't know but which probably describes a lot of my vocabulary.) Perhaps the equivalent of your "ornery"? which I would never use.


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Re: bolshy/bolshie
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2018, 05:37:48 AM »
I've never used or heard bolshy/bolshie.

To your point, anona, I use ornery all the time. Although it can mean bad-tempered or stubborn, it's also used around here to mean mischievous.


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Re: bolshy/bolshie
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2018, 08:49:15 AM »
From the Institute of Australian Culture

bolshie = Someone who is perceived as being very left-wing; an abbreviation from the Russian Bolsheviks (communists), e.g. “He sounds like a bit of a bolshie”, “Just listen to him, he’s a bolshie”.

It used to be quite common but I haven't heard it for yonks.
Cheers, Jack

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Re: bolshy/bolshie
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2018, 01:11:18 PM »
I think it is (or perhaps was) used in two different ways.

1. Firstly as an abbreviation for bolshevik it was used to mean somebody with left-wing political views.

It still crops up from time to time in headlines of right-wing tabloids such as the Daily Mail and Daily Express.
('Corbyn and his Bolshie Friends')

2. In a more general sense it is / was used to mean 'argumentative', 'belligerent' or 'disruptive'.

I remember from my time working in UK schools that it was a word  teachers used to describe troublesome students / pupils.

'Jane has become very bolshie this year since she started hanging round with Mary and her crowd.'

I'm not sure if it's still used in this way in UK - it's been a long time since I lived there.

Alan W

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Re: bolshy/bolshie
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2018, 12:43:31 PM »
As noted, the word is fairly common in Britain - and other places outside North America - but definitely rarely used in the USA and Canada.

The two spellings, bolshy and bolshie, seem to be about equally prevalent. I was amused to see the phrase Bollinger Bolshies used by the Daily Mail as a variant on champagne socialists.

This word, in both spellings, will not be counted as common from now on.
Alan Walker
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