con·​scrip·​tion | \ kən-ˈskrip-shən How to pronounce conscription (audio) \

Definition of conscription

: compulsory enrollment of persons especially for military service : draft During the war the armed forces were heavily dependent on conscription.

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Did You Know?

With its scrip- root, conscription means basically writing someone's name on a list—a list that, unfortunately, a lot of people usually don't want to be on. Conscription has existed at least since ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom (27th century B.C.), though universal conscription has been rare throughout history. Forms of conscription were used by Prussia, Switzerland, Russia, and other European powers in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the U.S., conscription was first applied during the Civil War, by both the North and the South. In the North there were pockets of resistance, and the draft led to riots in several cities. The U.S. abandoned conscription at the end of the war and didn't revive it until World War I.

Examples of conscription in a Sentence

young people who face conscription into the army

Recent Examples on the Web

But there are no signs that Issaias will end conscription entirely. The Economist, "Eritrea’s gulag state is crumbling," 11 July 2019 Those were all wars in which young men were subject to conscription. Jeff Rice, Twin Cities, "Jeff Rice: I damaged the ROTC offices at Northwestern University. Here’s how — and why — I atone," 24 June 2019 The ultrareligious parties oppose conscription as an attempt to assimilate their cloistered communities by thrusting their young men into contact with secular life and values. Washington Post, "How the battle of bra-baring waitresses and ultra-religious protesters explains Israel’s political crisis," 10 June 2019 The conscription issue has stoked the ire of many in the wider population who do not see these religious Jews as paying their way. Washington Post, "How the battle of bra-baring waitresses and ultra-religious protesters explains Israel’s political crisis," 10 June 2019 Since the 1700s, the conservative sect has been on the move, skirting military conscription and mandated public education, while also seeking fertile land for farming. Nina Strochlic, National Geographic, "An unlikely feud between beekeepers and Mennonites simmers in Mexico," 12 Apr. 2019 Further protests took place in some former opposition areas recaptured by the government after authorities moved to enforce military conscription there despite promises to hold off. Sarah El Deeb, The Seattle Times, "Syria’s Assad: Last man standing amid new Arab uprisings," 13 Apr. 2019 Meanwhile, some of Gen. Prayuth’s opponents are proposing socially liberal policies of their own, notably an end to military conscription. James Hookway, WSJ, "Thai Junta Lite: Election Season Brings Push for Medical Pot, Same-Sex Unions," 12 Dec. 2018 Fans in South Korea and abroad are transfixed by Son Heung-min’s conscription saga. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "South Korean Soccer Star Needs to Beat Japan or Report for Duty," 30 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conscription.' 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 conscription

1800, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for conscription

see conscript entry 1

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Statistics for conscription

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for conscription

The first known use of conscription was in 1800

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More Definitions for conscription



English Language Learners Definition of conscription

: the practice of ordering people by law to serve in the armed forces

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More from Merriam-Webster on conscription

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with conscription

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for conscription

Spanish Central: Translation of conscription

Britannica English: Translation of conscription for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about conscription

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