death squad


Definition of death squad

: any of various extremist groups whose members kill suspected political adversaries and criminals

Examples of death squad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Founded by a family whose members once belonged to death squads that roamed this banana-growing region, the Clan has units in several regions and hundreds of men, many armed with assault rifles and land mines. Juan Forero, WSJ, "Where Colombian Rebels Once Ruled, Drug Gangs Now Fight for Control," 16 July 2018 Many who fear being nabbed by death squads have also fled to El Salvador, Honduras and Florida. Maria Verza, The Seattle Times, "In Nicaragua, political violence spurs migration," 25 Oct. 2018 In 2011 Patrícia Acioli, a judge who jailed around 60 police officers belonging to militias and death squads, was shot dead. The Economist, "Mourning MarielleLessons from a murder in Rio de Janeiro," 22 Mar. 2018 At least 60 people were also killed by death squads set up by members of Spain’s security forces and clandestine far-right groups. Washington Post, "Basque survivors warn against forgetting ETA’s violence," 5 May 2018 Mr Uribe appointed officials with links to right-wing death squads. The Economist, "The price of electing saviours in Latin America," 27 June 2018 Another, a ranch hand, described a death squad boss roaming the property freely on horseback. New York Times, "In Colombian Death Ranch Case, Some Fear Prosecution Will Be Buried," 8 July 2018 In February, the Supreme Court began investigating Uribe for intimidating key witnesses—one of whom was later murdered outside Medellín—against him and his brother, Santiago, who is currently on trial for leading a death squad. Steven Cohen, The New Republic, "Why Colombia Keeps Electing Presidents Tied to Murderers," 18 June 2018 But in reality, his Mahdi Army became a central player in the revenge killings, employing death squads in Baghdad and operating prisons far outside the control of the central government. Washington Post, "Public enemy or savior? An Iraqi city could reveal the true Moqtada al-Sadr," 4 July 2018

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

1873, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

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The first known use of death squad was in 1873

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More Definitions for death squad

death squad


English Language Learners Definition of death squad

: a group of people who kill people who oppose a particular ruler or political group

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