atroc·​i·​ty | \ ə-ˈträ-sə-tē How to pronounce atrocity (audio) \
plural atrocities

Definition of atrocity

1 : a shockingly bad or atrocious act, object, or situation the atrocities of war
2 : the quality or state of being atrocious … the paralysing atrocity of the thought which occupied her.— Joseph Conrad

Examples of atrocity in a Sentence

Atrocities were committed by forces on both sides of the conflict. Who could be capable of such atrocity?
Recent Examples on the Web And in addition to the atrocity of the genocide, almost to the point of genuine extinction of the buffalo, was its direct connection with the First Nation. Alex Ritman, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2022 The horrific human atrocity of World War II ended aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay as Japan formally signed documents of surrender on this day in history, Sept. 2, 1945. Kerry J. Byrne, Fox News, 2 Sep. 2022 Repatriation, or the return of someone to their own country, is a key factor in a larger moment of reckoning by a United States government that is just beginning to look at its own role in the atrocity of Indian boarding schools. Jenna Kunze, ELLE, 28 July 2022 Still, the federal response to that atrocity is instructive here — partially in terms of what not to do. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 26 May 2021 Instead, they have been reduced to vulgar terrorism, bombing hospitals and residential buildings in an attempt to use atrocity as a substitute for victory. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 20 Mar. 2022 Sites that memorialize tragedy and atrocity can be found all over the world, from Phnom Penh to Auschwitz to Rwanda, and these sites are visited by survivors, mourners, and tourists. Annalisa Bolin, Longreads, 28 July 2022 As flowers bloom amid the wreckage, the Kyiv suburb synonymous with atrocity feels almost normal again. New York Times, 18 July 2022 The mythology of its founding is exploded in captivating fashion, as a council member lays out the details of the atrocity against Native Americans in its real origin story. Peter Marks, Washington Post, 26 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atrocity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of atrocity

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for atrocity

see atrocious

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Time Traveler for atrocity

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The first known use of atrocity was in 1534

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Dictionary Entries Near atrocity



à trois

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Statistics for atrocity

Last Updated

23 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Atrocity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for atrocity


atroc·​i·​ty | \ ə-ˈträ-sə-tē How to pronounce atrocity (audio) \
plural atrocities

Kids Definition of atrocity

: an extremely cruel or terrible act, object, or situation the atrocities of war

More from Merriam-Webster on atrocity

Nglish: Translation of atrocity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atrocity for Arabic Speakers


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