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conscientious objector

[kon-shee-en-shuh s uh b-jek-ter, kon-see‐] /ˌkɒn ʃiˈɛn ʃəs əbˈdʒɛk tər, ˌkɒn si‐/
a person who refuses on moral or religious grounds to serve in the armed forces or to bear arms in a military conflict.
Origin of conscientious objector
First recorded in 1820-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for conscientious objector
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When the World War came he declared himself a conscientious objector.

    Blue Ridge Country Jean Thomas
  • The girls always surmised that he must be a conscientious objector.

    A Patriotic Schoolgirl Angela Brazil
  • "It hasn't turned me into a conscientious objector, if you mean that," he said.

    Up and Down Edward Frederic Benson
  • I mean I wouldn't fight; I'm a conscientious objector to war.

    Jimmie Higgins Upton Sinclair
  • Parliament made a mistake in ever giving a statutory exemption to the conscientious objector.

  • The problem of the slacker and of the conscientious objector, although vexatious, was never serious.

  • A figure in the splay of the E. window has been carefully erased by some "conscientious objector."

    Somerset G.W. Wade and J.H. Wade
British Dictionary definitions for conscientious objector

conscientious objector

a person who refuses to serve in the armed forces on the grounds of conscience
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conscientious objector

1896, in reference to those with religious scruples about mandatory vaccination. Military sense predominated from World War I.

After a chequered career full of startling episodes and reversals, the Vaccination Bill becomes virtually the Vaccination Act. In Parliament the hottest of the contest centred round the conscientious objector. [The Lancet, Aug. 13, 1898]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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conscientious objector in Culture
conscientious objector (CO)

A person who refuses to render military service on the grounds of moral principle or religious belief. A CO must demonstrate a sincere, active, and long-standing objection in order to receive an exemption from armed service. The United States and some European governments officially recognize CO status; approved COs are usually required to perform social service or noncombat military service in place of armed duty. (See also draft, draft dodger, and Selective Service System.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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