conscription

noun
con·scrip·tion | \kən-ˈskrip-shən \

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

South Korea has had conscription since 1949, and an army stint is viewed by many as a rite of passage in a country still technically at war with North Korea. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Court Orders South Korea to Overhaul Hallowed Conscription Law," 28 June 2018 Some small countries with menacing neighbours, like Sweden and Lithuania, are resuming conscription for defensive purposes. The Economist, "If national service is so good, everyone should do it," 5 July 2018 Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws. Washington Post, "Eritrea leader visits Ethiopia on Saturday in historic thaw," 13 July 2018 Like Qatar, the UAE has introduced military conscription. The Economist, "Insecurity complexGulf states fear being encircled by Iran and abandoned by America," 21 June 2018 Researchers with Oslo's Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research studied scores from more than 730,000 men between 1962 and 1991 who participated in military conscription testing. USA TODAY, "IQ scores have been falling for decades, and a new study blames schools and nutrition," 14 June 2018 Because war could resume at any time, Eritrea has a severe conscription policy, which experts say is one reason why hundreds of thousands of citizens have sought asylum in Europe. Abigail Abrams, Time, "Landmark Peace Declaration Ends ‘State of War’ Between Ethiopia and Eritrea," 12 July 2018 Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel, and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws. Elias Meseret, The Christian Science Monitor, "Ethiopia and Eritrea unite after ending 20-year border war," 9 July 2018 Eritrea has become a major source of migrants fleeing toward Europe, Israel and African nations in recent years as human rights groups criticize its harsh military conscription laws. Elias Meseret, Fox News, "With hugs, leaders of rivals Ethiopia, Eritrea finally meet," 8 July 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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Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

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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

conscription

noun

English Language Learners Definition of conscription

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

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