[ 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 in·ter·ne·cive [in-ter-nee-siv, -nes-iv] /ˌɪn tɛrˈni sɪv, -ˈnɛs ɪv/.

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for internecine

British Dictionary definitions for internecine


/ (ˌɪntəˈniːsaɪn) /


mutually destructive or ruinous; maiming both or all sidesinternecine war
of or relating to slaughter or carnage; bloody
of or involving conflict within a group or organization

Word Origin for internecine

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

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