conscientious objector


: a person who refuses to serve in the armed forces or bear arms on moral or religious grounds

Examples of conscientious objector in a Sentence

He registered as a conscientious objector.
Recent Examples on the Web Enter Email Sign Up Under Mr. Wulf’s leadership, the ACLU opposed the Vietnam War, represented conscientious objectors and organized the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, a network of lawyers drawn from several groups, including the ACLU, the NAACP and the American Jewish Committee. Richard Sandomir,, 15 July 2023 His grandfather, a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, was later arrested while scattering blood on the walls of the Pentagon, as part of a civil-disobedience action against nuclear weapons. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 2 Nov. 2023 Besides Consumers Union, her clients included the American Civil Liberties Union and conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. Emily Langer, Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2023 The Washington Post reported in 2012 that Rustin was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during World War II and was arrested during protests at least 25 times. Tommy McArdle, Peoplemag, 28 Aug. 2023 In recent years, conscientious objectors — including religious men — have been allowed to take community service roles instead. Annabelle Timsit, Washington Post, 26 Feb. 2023 But Vadim says that none of the conscientious objectors backed by his movement has so far been punished by authorities. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 May 2023 In theory, Russian law allows conscientious objectors to perform alternative service, but permission is rarely granted. Neil MacFarquhar,, 1 May 2023 In theory, Russian law allows for conscientious objectors’ performing alternative service, but it is rarely granted. Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times, 30 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'conscientious objector.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of conscientious objector was in 1916

Dictionary Entries Near conscientious objector

Cite this Entry

“Conscientious objector.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

conscientious objector

: a person who refuses to serve in the armed forces or to bear arms because of his or her moral or religious beliefs

More from Merriam-Webster on conscientious objector

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!