the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

Origin of genocide

1940–45; < Greek géno(s) race + -cide
Related formsgen·o·cid·al, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for genocide

Contemporary Examples of genocide

Historical Examples of genocide

  • He didn't want to be accused of genocide, since the Lani were so human in appearance.

    The Lani People

    J. F. Bone

  • Genocide is defined as the extermination of a race of sapient beings.

    Little Fuzzy

    Henry Beam Piper

  • The mystery of our failure at genocide forced an unpleasant decision on Benson.

    The Test Colony

    Winston Marks

  • In a chance encounter with angry Serb mobs in the streets of Pristina he accused the Albanians of genocide.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • Nuclear nightmares intermingled with Armenian and Jewish flashbacks of genocide.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

British Dictionary definitions for genocide



the policy of deliberately killing a nationality or ethnic group
Derived Formsgenocidal, adjective

Word Origin for genocide

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

Word Origin and History for genocide

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

genocide in Culture



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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.