Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Wikipedia.


1. any of the subdivisions of a compound leaf such as a fern leaf
2. (loosely) any small leaf or leaflike part
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a printed sheet with a political-agitational or informative text or picture. The distinguishing features of leaflets are their up-to-date content, the comparatively large number of copies printed, the promptness of publication and distribution, and brief use. Leaflets may present either original texts of appeals and announcements or reprints (official documents or works of art, for example).

The first leaflets were printed soon after the invention of the printing press. Originally they were used to publicize government decrees. Revolutionary leaflets were used throughout Germany during the Peasant War of 1524–26. In the 18th to 20th centuries leaflets became an accepted form of mass revolutionary propaganda. They were also widely used in preelection struggles among bourgeois parties. During wars (especially World War I and World War II) leaflets were issued by governments and by military commands.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the Russian government issued manifestos, decrees, and addresses to the population by means of flyers, a form of leaflet. For example, flyers were distributed during the Patriotic War of 1812. The forerunners of revolutionary leaflets were handwritten “anonymous letters” and “inciting (prelestnye) charters” summoning the people to rebellion and distributed by the leaders of the peasant wars of the 17th and 18th centuries (I. Bolotnikov, S. Razin, K. Bulavin, and E. Pugachev). Revolutionary leaflets called proclamations were printed in London by the Free Russian Printing House for distribution in Russia. During the phase of the Russian liberation movement that was dominated by the raznochintsy (intellectuals of no definite class), proclamation-leaflets were issued by Zemlia i Volia (Land and Freedom) in the 1860’s and 1870’s, by the People’s Will, by the first workers’ circles, and by other revolutionary organizations inside the country and abroad. The St. Petersburg Union of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class, which was headed by V. I. Lenin in 1895, made extensive use of leaflets. Revolutionary leaflets were issued on a mass scale during the Revolution of 1905–07 and during the preparation for and implementation of the October Socialist Revolution of 1917, as well as during the Civil War of 1918–20.

The publication and distribution of leaflets are forms of agitational work done by party, soviet, and Komsomol organizations in the USSR. There are two main types of leaflets: placardleaflets and “militant sheets.” During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 leaflets played a major role in the party’s ideological struggle against sinister fascist German propaganda by helping to mobilize and unite popular forces to rout the enemy. Leaflets are used to publish appeals and urgent communiqués. They are a means of disseminating the experience of advanced workers. In addition, leaflets are used for commercial and other forms of advertising.


1 marta 1881 g.: Proklamatsii i vozzvaniia, izdannye posle tsareubiistva. Petrograd, 1920.
Pamiatniki agitatsionnoi literatury RSDRP. Vol. 6 (1914–17): “Period voiny,” fasc. 1, “Proklamatsii 1914 g.” Moscow-Petrograd, 1923.
Proklamatsii shestidesiatykh godov. Moscow-Leningrad, 1926.
Literatura Moskovskogo Rabochego Soiuza. Moscow, 1930.
Listovki Peterburgskogo ‘Soiuza bor’by za osvobozhdenie rabochego klassa,’ 1895–1897 gg. Moscow, 1934.
Listovki peterburgskikh bol’shevikov 1902–917, vols. 1–3. [Moscow-Leningrad] 1939–57.
Listovki Grazhdanskoi voiny v SSSR, 1918–1922. Moscow, 1942.
Listovki Moskovskoi organizatsii bol’shevikov, 1914–1925 gg. Moscow, 1954.
Listovki bol’shevistskikh organizatsii v pervoi russkoi revoliutsii 1905–1907 gg., parts 1–3. Moscow, 1956.
Geroi ipodvigi: Sovetskie listovki Velikoi Otechestvennoi voiny 1941–1945 gg. Moscow, 1958.
Listovki Otechestvennoi voiny 1912 g. Moscow, 1962.
Revoliutsiini vidozvi do ukrains’koho narodu 1850–1870 rr. Kiev, 1920.


Likhachev, N. Katalog letuchikh izdanii i ikh perepechatoh Manifesty, ukazy i dr. pravitel’stvennye rasporiazheniia v otdel’nykh izdaniiakh i perepechatkakh. St. Petersburg, 1895.
Bitovt, lu. Redkie russkie knigi i letuchie izdaniia XVIII v. Moscow, 1905.
Pervomaiskie proklamatsii: Bibliografich. opisanie. Leningrad, 1924.
Sotsial-demokraticheskie listovki, 1894–1917 gg.: Bibliografich. ukaza-tel’, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1931–34.
Mez’er, A. V. Slovamyi ukazatel’ po knigovedeniiu, part 3. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934. Pages 503–620.
Klevenskii, M. M., E. N. Kusheva, and O. P. Markova. Russkaia podpol’naia i zarubezhnaia pechat’ Bibliografich. ukazatel’, vol. 1. Moscow, 1935.
Petropavlovskii, E. S. Listovki kak istochnik pri izuchenii istorii KPSS. Moscow, 1966.
Istochnikovedenie istorii SSSR XIX–nach. XX vv. Moscow, 1970. Pages 328–45.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A division of a compound leaf.
A small or young foliage leaf.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
A Scottish Labour spokesman said they were looking into how the leaflets were mistakenly sent to the wrong area and that no personal data had been shared.
He said: "I unequivocally condemn any kind of sectarian leaflets. We've a proud tradition of crosscommunity cohesion in Fazakerley.
"I object to this & hope the DUP remove him from the party ALLIANCE'S MICHAEL LONG on leaflet row
The grim leaflets appear to be urging white people to join up with a movement aimed at the 'survival, expansion and advancement of white people exclusively.'
The number of total and partial downward displacement of anterior leaflet counted up to 133 cases and absent in four cases, which is much higher than that by 2D-ITEE.
When building the leaflet text, keep relevant information flowing steadily and logically.
Powell added: "With leaflets, as soon as they are posted the occupants of the house can see your company and what you are offering.
The 5,000 Coventry City Council leaflets use pictures to explain the perfect angle for wheelie bins to be placed before binmen collect them.
Lt-Colonel Muzyad Al Utaibi, Chief of the Tourism Police Section at the Criminal Investigation Department, said: "The leaflet offers five important guidelines for tourists.
Five activists travelling in a pick-up truck loaded with 100,000 leaflets were surrounded by some 70 policemen near a hill in the northwestern city of Gimpo after which their vehicle was forcibly towed to the local police station.
Pupils at Bailey Green Primary School, Killingworth, have been handing out leaflets to parents and guardians, highlighting the importance of road safety around the school gates.