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A Central Intelligence Agency photograph of Czechoslovaks carrying their national flag past a burning tank in Prague during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on 20–21 August 1968

Alternative forms

  • (tank soldier; member of the Communist Party of Great Britain): tanky



tank +‎ -ie.

Senses 1 and 2 were named for the tanks used by the Soviet Union against uprisings in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.





tankie (plural tankies)

  1. (UK, politics, slang, historical) A member of the Communist Party of Great Britain who supported the Soviet Union's policy of crushing revolts in Hungary in the 1950s and Czechoslovakia in the 1960s by sending tanks into those countries.
    • 1985, Terry Bushell, “Softliners and Tankies”, in Marriage of Inconvenience: An Anglo-Soviet Alliance, London: André Deutsch, →ISBN, page 10:
      [W]e also desired to shock the staid older party members and the tankies. The tankies and softliners differed as to what sort of magazine Challenge should be.
    • 2006, Tom Stoppard, Rock 'n' Roll, London: Faber and Faber, →ISBN:
      Stephen Well, read the Morning Star and keep up with the tankies. / Max The tankies … How the years roll by. Dubcek is back. Russia agrees to withdraw its garrisons. Czechoslovakia takes her knickers off to welcome capitalism. And all that remains of August '68 is a derisive nickname for the only real Communists left in the Communist Party. I'm exactly as old as the October Revolution …
    • 2007, Tribune, volume 71, London: Tribune Publications, →OCLC:
      [T]he tankies, those members of the British Communist Party who unquestioningly followed Moscow's line, up to and beyond supporting Soviet tanks rumbling through the streets of Budapest and Prague, []
  2. (politics, slang, derogatory, by extension) A supporter of policies and actions by the Soviet Union, China, Cuba or other Marxist-Leninist governments.
    • 2009, Arthur Smith, “Rooms above Pubs”, in My Name is Daphne Fairfax: A Memoir, London: Hutchinson, ISBN 978-0-09-192103-3; republished London: Arrow Books, Random House, 2010, ISBN 978-0-09-951965-2, pages 181–182:
      As far as the Sparklies were concerned the new comics were scruffy herberts who shouted ‘Fuck Thatcher’ over and over, while raving Tankie Stalinists hooted indiscriminately in the front row.
    • 2021, Mike Watson, The Memeing of Mark Fisher[1], John Hunt Publishing:
      Though in an age in which anyone can publish texts, images, and videos to potentially huge audiences and in which impassioned leftists of “woke,” “tankie,” and “democratic-socialist” (post-Corbynista or Bernie Bro) persuasions post constant calls to action, informational posts, and manifestos, the failure of the left to ignite needs further analysis.
  3. (military, slang) A soldier from a tank regiment.
    • 1981, Noel “Wig” [Frank] Gardiner, “A Team Talk with the Tankies”, in Freyberg's Circus: Reminiscences of a Kiwi Soldier in the North African Campaign of World War II, Auckland: Ray Richards Publisher, →ISBN, page 88:
      Obviously a thrust by the tankies over the ridge and through the minefield was just not on, there and then in broad daylight, a fact they appeared to recognise. At that stage the Germans were well positioned to give them a warm reception with their powerful 88s and other artillery.
    • 2006, David Fiddimore, Charlie's War, London: Pan Books, →ISBN, page 186:
      Breakfast was taken alongside a curious tank without a turret. When I asked about it a tankie sergeant said, 'It's a Kangaroo: that's a Sherman without a turret. The Canadians make them. []'
    • 2010, Michael Asher, The Flaming Sword (Death or Glory; part 2), London: Michael Joseph, →ISBN:
      Caine focused on the RTR [Royal Tank Regiment] badge directly above Glenn's left eye. 'Never had you down as a tankie, sir,' he said. 'Always thought you were a greenjacket through and through.' Glenn snorted. 'I'm no more a tankie than you are,' he said, curling back dry lips to show the slablike teeth.
  4. (rail transport, slang) A tank engine.



tankie (not comparable)

  1. (politics, slang, derogatory) Supporting the policies of the Soviet Union or other Marxist-Leninist governments.

See also


Further reading