[ par-uh-mil-i-ter-ee ]
/ ˌpær əˈmɪl ɪˌtɛr i /


noting or pertaining to an organization operating as, in place of, or as a supplement to a regular military force: a paramilitary police unit.

noun, plural par·a·mil·i·tar·ies.

Also par·a·mil·i·ta·rist [par-uh-mil-i-ter-ist] /ˌpær əˈmɪl ɪ tər ɪst/. a person employed in such a force.

Nearby words

  1. parametric equations,
  2. parametric statistics,
  3. parametritis,
  4. parametrium,
  5. parametrize,
  6. paramimia,
  7. paramita,
  8. paramnesia,
  9. paramo,
  10. paramorph

Origin of paramilitary

First recorded in 1930–35; para-1 + military Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for paramilitary

British Dictionary definitions for paramilitary


/ (ˌpærəˈmɪlɪtərɪ, -trɪ) /


denoting or relating to a group of personnel with military structure functioning either as a civil force or in support of military forces
denoting or relating to a force with military structure conducting armed operations against a ruling or occupying power


  1. a paramilitary force
  2. a member of such a force
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 paramilitary



1935, from para- (1) + military.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper