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[in-ter-nee-seen, -sahyn, -nes-een, -nes-ahyn] /ˌɪn tərˈni sin, -saɪn, -ˈnɛs in, -ˈnɛs aɪn/
of or relating to conflict or struggle within a group:
an internecine feud among proxy holders.
mutually destructive.
characterized by great slaughter; deadly.
Also, internecive
[in-ter-nee-siv, -nes-iv] /ˌɪn tɛrˈni sɪv, -ˈnɛs ɪv/ (Show IPA)
Origin of internecine
1655-65; < Latin internecīnus, internecīvus murderous, equivalent to internec(āre) to kill out, exterminate (inter- inter- + necāre to kill) + -īnus -ine1, -īvus -ive Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for internecine
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • internecine destruction probably has a meaning we can only guess at.

  • They would have been led on by internecine warfare to mutual destruction.

    The Last Voyage Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey
  • I will not believe that we stand to-day in danger of internecine war!

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • The key is, no doubt, to be found in the internecine jealousies of the sections.

  • He was one internecine battle, and he became cruel to her because of it.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
British Dictionary definitions for internecine


mutually destructive or ruinous; maiming both or all sides: internecine war
of or relating to slaughter or carnage; bloody
of or involving conflict within a group or organization
Word Origin
C17: from Latin internecīnus, from internecāre to destroy, from necāre to kill
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 internecine

1660s, "deadly, destructive," from Latin internecinus "very deadly, murderous, destructive," from internecare "kill or destroy," from inter (see inter-) + necare "kill" (see noxious). Considered in the OED as misinterpreted in Johnson's Dictionary [1755], which defined it as "endeavouring mutual destruction," on association of inter- with "mutual" when the prefix supposedly is used in this case as an intensive. From Johnson, wrongly or not, has come the main modern definition of "mutually destructive."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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