1927, in the context of Soviet literary censorship; in reference to writing, "obscure or ambiguous, often allegorical, and disguising dissent;" from Aesop, the traditional father of the allegorical fable, + -ic. It translates Russian ezopovskii (1875), which arose there under the Tsars. In the empire the style was employed by Russian communists, who, once they took power, found themselves disguised in animal fables written by their own dissidents. In the sense "pertaining to the ancient Greek fable-writer Aesop," Aesopian is attested in English from 1875; it is recorded from 1950 in general reference to shrouding of real meaning to avoid censorship.
updated on September 15, 2022
Dictionary entries near Aesopic