Is there a Russian word (not a long phrase) that describes a "holdout"? This word means someone who resists doing something themselves that most other people are in favor of, e.g., not leaving an area where a hurricane is approaching after the government tells everyone to depart, not surrendering at the end of a war when their side has lost (like the Japanese soldiers who hid in the jungles of the Pacific for years after 1945), or continuing to use blackboards when most others are okay with using whiteboards. I am not seeking a translation of "luddite" since that is more specific to refusing to accept changes in technology.

Before posting here I asked several native speakers about this and either they couldn't think of a translation or the suggestions I got were not considered accurate by others, such as консерватор, мракобес, and ретроград. If any native speaker reading this understands what a "holdout" is and can think of an accurate translation, please let me know.

  • 1
    I really don' think there is a term for that in Russian. Neither 'уклонист' nor 'воздержавшийся' convey the meaning in general sense. You'd have to translate it depending on the context.
    – AR.
    Oct 13, 2018 at 2:31
  • 1
    I feel the noun which may cover most situations would be отщепенец. Oct 13, 2018 at 6:50
  • 1
    White crow - as in black sheep of the family, оригинал (noun, meaning authentic, original when about things, but extravagant, unusual when about human)
    – Arioch
    Oct 13, 2018 at 11:06
  • Упрямец, тормоз
    – Alexander
    Oct 16, 2018 at 0:00

2 Answers 2


A holdout is someone who refuses to agree or act with other people in a particular situation and by doing so stops the situation from progressing or being resolved (the Collins Dictionary).

I'd say that the translation of the word into Russian depends on the context, and there may be no one word that would mean everything "holdout" means. The sentences below are taken from English-English dictionaries and next to them you can see my translation:

France has been the holdout in trying to negotiate an end to the dispute. - Франция не оказывает активного содействия в попытках уладить спорный вопрос. (Perhaps, we could call France "саботажник" переговоров, but it might be inappropriate.)

It's time to shame holdouts into signing the treaty. - Пора заставить уклонистов подписать договор.

He says he might be a holdout at the start of the next season if the team doesn't agree to pay him more. - Он говорит, что в начале следующего сезона может "стать в позу", если ему не будут платить больше.

So, if you really need one word, I'd suggest саботажник or уклонист. But sometimes idioms (e.g. стать в позу) or the use of не оказывать содействия/поддержки, оставаться в стороне, work better.


We would use such adjectives as упорный (both with negative and positive connotation), несгибаемый (positive), упёртый (negative & colloquial), закоренелый (negative, e.x. закоренелый преступник), непреклонный (positive), стойкий (positive), and then a noun. A separate noun seems to be lacking. Also, some of the above adjectives can be used in a shortened form: Он был упорен (несгибаем, непреклонен, стоек).

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