crime against humanity

noun phrase

: atrocity (such as extermination or enslavement) that is directed especially against an entire population or part of a population on specious grounds and without regard to individual guilt or responsibility even on such grounds

Examples of crime against humanity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These crimes included persecution on the grounds of gender — a crime against humanity — which intersected with discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and religion, the report said. Victoria Bisset, Washington Post, 9 Mar. 2024 For Israelis, this same date will be that of a heinous Palestinian crime against humanity that summoned from the collective Jewish subconscious images of Jew-slaughter through the ages, culminating in the Holocaust. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 31 Jan. 2024 Rights groups and some international law experts have accused Israel of committing apartheid, a crime against humanity under international law. Frances Vinall, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2024 In 1993, the International Criminal Court reaffirmed apartheid as a crime against humanity and established the possibility of individuals being held responsible. Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan. 2024 My uncle Omar’s family in Gaza City have made the difficult decision to remain in their home, despite Israeli orders for Palestinians in that part of the Strip to leave (where to, no one knows), a move that U.N. experts consider to be a crime against humanity. Laila El-Haddad, The New Republic, 1 Nov. 2023 Well, the Hamas attack is clearly a crime against humanity, meaning a widespread and systematic attack against a civilian population. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 20 Oct. 2023 What Hamas has done is a crime against humanity in the deepest sense of the term. TIME, 16 Oct. 2023 Taliban crackdown on women should be probed as crime against humanity, rights groups say The doctor spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing safety concerns. Masoud Popalzai, CNN, 5 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crime against humanity.' 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

1878, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of crime against humanity was in 1878

Dictionary Entries Near crime against humanity

Cite this Entry

“Crime against humanity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crime%20against%20humanity. Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Legal Definition

crime against humanity

crime against hu·​man·​i·​ty
: an inhumane act (as enslavement) committed against civilians before or during a war for which criminal liability is imposed by a domestic or international tribunal see also war crime

More from Merriam-Webster on crime against humanity

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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