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holocaust

Syllabification: hol·o·caust
Pronunciation: /ˈhäləˌkôst
 
, ˈhōləˌkôst
 
/

Definition of holocaust in English:

noun

1Destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially caused by fire or nuclear war: a nuclear holocaust the threat of imminent holocaust
More example sentences
  • The Cold War bred a generation obsessed with fear and concern about imminent nuclear holocaust.
  • When this song was written, people till saw the threat of nuclear holocaust as a very real thing and the lyrics describe the moment that the first bomb goes off.
  • Why should they, on top of everything else they go through, have to suffer the terror of anticipating a nuclear holocaust?
Synonyms
cataclysm, disaster, catastrophe;
destruction, devastation, annihilation;
massacre, slaughter, mass murder, extermination, extirpation, carnage, butchery;
1.1 (the Holocaust) The mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime during the period 1941–45. More than 6 million European Jews, as well as members of other persecuted groups, such as gypsies and homosexuals, were murdered at concentration camps such as Auschwitz.
2 historical A Jewish sacrificial offering that is burned completely on an altar.
Example sentences
  • In open sacrifice, the smoke of their holocaust at the temple is sent aloft with an unspoken prayer to the old gods.

Origin

Middle English: from Old French holocauste, via late Latin from Greek holokauston, from holos 'whole' + kaustos 'burned' (from kaiein 'burn').

More
  • A holocaust was originally a sacrificial offering burned completely on an altar, from Greek holokauston, from holos ‘whole’ and kaustos ‘burned’. From the 18th century it could also mean ‘a great slaughter or massacre’, and this is the sense most widely known today. The Holocaust was the mass murder of more than 6 million Jews and other persecuted groups under the German Nazi regime between 1941 and 1945. The term was introduced by historians during the 1950s, but as early as 1942 newspapers were referring to the killing of Jews by the Germans as ‘a holocaust’. The Hebrew equivalent is sō'āh or Shoah, literally ‘catastrophe’, which is sometimes used in English.

Words that rhyme with holocaust

hypocaust

Definition of holocaust in:

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