Definition of holocaust in English:


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


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?
cataclysm, disaster, catastrophe; destruction, devastation, annihilation; massacre, slaughter, mass murder, extermination, extirpation, carnage, butchery; genocide, ethnic cleansing, pogrom
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.
More example sentences
  • In open sacrifice, the smoke of their holocaust at the temple is sent aloft with an unspoken prayer to the old gods.


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

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