[ hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh- ]
/ ˈhɒl əˌkɔst, ˈhoʊ lə- /
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a great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fire.
a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.
Usually the Holocaust . the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Origin of holocaust

First recorded in 1200–50; Middle English, from Late Latin holocaustum (Vulgate), from Greek holókauston (Septuagint), neuter of holókaustos “burnt whole”; see holo-, caustic


hol·o·caus·tal, adjectivehol·o·caus·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use holocaust in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for holocaust

/ (ˈhɒləˌkɔːst) /

great destruction or loss of life or the source of such destruction, esp fire
Also called: the Churban, the Shoah (usually capital) the mass murder of Jews and members of many other ethnic, social, and political groups in continental Europe between 1940 and 1945 by the Nazi regime
a rare word for burnt offering

Derived forms of holocaust

holocaustal or holocaustic, adjective

Word Origin for holocaust

C13: from Late Latin holocaustum whole burnt offering, from Greek holokauston, from holo- + kaustos, from kaiein to burn
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

Cultural definitions for holocaust

[ (hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-kawst) ]

The killing of some six million Jews (see also Jews) by the Nazis during World War II. To the Nazis, the Holocaust was the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish problem,” and would help them establish a pure German master race. Much of the killing took place in concentration camps, such as Auschwitz and Dachau. (See Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler.)

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.