[ uh-tros-i-tee ]
/ əˈtrɒs ɪ ti /

noun, plural a·troc·i·ties.

the quality or state of being atrocious.
an atrocious act, thing, or circumstance.

Origin of atrocity

1525–35; < Latin atrōcitās, equivalent to atrōci- (stem of atrōx) fierce + -tās -ty2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for atrocities

British Dictionary definitions for atrocities


/ (əˈtrɒsɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

behaviour or an action that is wicked or ruthless
the fact or quality of being atrocious
(usually plural) acts of extreme cruelty, esp against prisoners or civilians in wartime
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

Word Origin and History for atrocities



1530s, from Middle French atrocité or directly from Latin atrocitatem (nominative atrocitas) "cruelty, fierceness, harshness," noun of quality from atrox "fierce, cruel, frightful," from PIE *atro-ek-, from root *ater- "fire" (see atrium) + *okw- "see" (see eye (n.)); thus "of fiery or threatening appearance." The meaning "an atrocious deed" is from 1793.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper