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Noun & adjective. Slang. Also Bolshy, b-. Early 20th century.
[from BOLSHEVIK + -Y.]
A noun. = BOLSHEVIK noun. E20
B adjective. = BOLSHEVIK adjective; left-wing, uncooperative, recalcitrant. E20
Also: bolshiness noun L20
"Oi! Don't get all bolshie with me, mate!" Bolshie is a curious (chiefly British) colloquialism for when someone is being uncooperative, uppity and difficult, especially about following instructions they don't feel they should have to follow. It might not even be an outright refusal to obey, but rather an awkward, obstructive and questioning response to what's being asked. For these types, bolshie is a handy little adjective, conveniently lumping their clearly Communist sympathies in with their utter audacity in questioning authority (your authority, to be precise). It's a particularly odd word as, in Britain, a communist inclination doesn't cause the same revulsion as it does elsewhere (such as the United States, for example). Rather, if someone announces that they believe in communist ideals, their naivety is treated with a certain patronising sympathy, an "Aww!" at their anachronistic idealism and precious gullibility. Perhaps the true origin of bolshie, however, stems from the fact that Brits tend to do what's asked of them and definitely don't like making a scene. Therefore, the man that's openly complaining about again being asked to change tables in a restaurant is indeed being 'a bit bolshie', if not downright revolutionary. Brits don't do that sort of thing, you see; it's just not cricket.
Has anyone ever said to you that you're being a bit bolshie?
Is bolshiness in your nature?
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