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

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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

Some think further atrocities by the RSF could spark fighting with the army. The Economist, "A struggle for power in Sudan could lead to civil war," 14 June 2019 And given that many of the migrants crossing illegally are women and children, many are vulnerable to atrocities and exploitation on their perilous expedition north. Fox News, "Footage of porous U.S.-Mexico border purportedly shows armed coyote smuggling dozens with ease," 13 June 2019 But in delving into the reactions to Asch’s work, Vogel and Taichman detect the dangerous currents that gave rise to 20th century atrocities. Charles Mcnulty,, "Review: ‘Indecent’ at the Ahmanson pays haunting tribute to a daring Yiddish play," 11 June 2019 Initial media coverage was followed by mounting reports of atrocities. Gaia Vince, Quartz, "How to survive in the world’s largest refugee camp," 8 June 2019 The resulting atrocities led to the charges of genocide. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Sudan leader’s iron grip finally slips amid protests," 12 Apr. 2019 The atrocity that took more than 60 years to come to light: the lynching of one of their own is not well-known. Brandon Patterson, Detroit Free Press, "Tuskegee Airman honored 73 years after being lynched in Austria," 27 May 2018 Colin Kaepernick and the players that followed suit saw this brief moment before kickoff as an opportunity to draw attention to the atrocities going on in our country — the police brutality on people of color, and the absence of justice for all. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "NFL's new national anthem policy will hardly silence players protesting social injustice," 23 May 2018 Because atrocities are more visible, human rights activists tend to ruminate on each violation. The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump’s attack on Syria: a bias for hope?," 16 Apr. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of atrocity

1534, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for atrocity

see atrocious

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Dictionary Entries near atrocity





à trois



Statistics for atrocity

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for atrocity

The first known use of atrocity was in 1534

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More Definitions for atrocity



English Language Learners Definition of atrocity

: a very cruel or terrible act or action


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

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More from Merriam-Webster on atrocity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with atrocity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for atrocity

Spanish Central: Translation of atrocity

Nglish: Translation of atrocity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of atrocity for Arabic Speakers

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