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[jen-uh-sahyd] /ˈdʒɛn əˌsaɪd/
the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.
Origin of genocide
1940-45; < Greek géno(s) race + -cide
Related forms
genocidal, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for genocidal


the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or ethnic group
Derived Forms
genocidal, adjective
Word Origin
C20: from geno-, from Greek genos race + -cide
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 genocidal

1948, from genocide + -al (1). Related: Genocidally.



1944, apparently coined by Polish-born U.S. jurist Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) in his work "Axis Rule in Occupied Europe" [p.19], in reference to Nazi extermination of Jews, literally "killing a tribe," from Greek genos "race, kind" (see genus) + -cide. The proper formation would be *genticide.

Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. [Lemkin]
Earlier in a similar sense was populicide (1799), from French populicide, by 1792, a word from the Revolution. This was taken into German, e.g. Völkermeuchelnden "genocidal" (Heine), which was Englished 1893 as folk-murdering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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genocidal in Culture
genocide [(jen-uh-seyed)]

The deliberate destruction of an entire race or nation. The Holocaust conducted by the Nazis in Germany and the Rwandan genocide are examples of attempts at genocide.

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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