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 South Africa, conspiracy theorists point out, was the party with the death squad contacts handy. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Who Killed Olof Palme?," 10 June 2020 Those disappearances raised suspicions they had been kidnapped by a death squad, either vigilantes or officially sanctioned. Time, "Rights Group Says Thai Dissident Was Abducted From the Street in Front of His Apartment," 5 June 2020 The mid-1970s in Argentina saw the start of the Dirty War, in which right-wing death squads killed tens of thousands. Washington Post, "Do Nations Survive Populist Demagogues? Ask Argentina," 20 Sep. 2019 Untold decades of backing despots and death squads in Latin America produced the multitudes of desperate migrants who have come to our borders, pleading for help. Kevin Baker, Harper's Magazine, "The Striking Gesture," 27 Apr. 2020 In 2005, he was captured in Chile and extradited to Lima, where he was eventually sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights abuses, corruption and sanctioning death squads. Washington Post, "Dark days for Peru’s political dynasty after congress closes," 4 Oct. 2019 The Mahdi Army was blamed for death squads that committed reprisals on Sunnis during the country’s worst sectarian convulsions in 2006 and 2007. New York Times, "Iraqi Voters Strengthen Hand of Militia Leader Who Battled U.S.," 14 May 2018 The rest had been killed in Nazi concentration camps or by roving SS death squads. Washington Post, "Aging Holocaust survivors try to sue over Nazi-era insurance," 8 Oct. 2019 Throughout the 1970s, death squads targeted activists and organizers labeled as insurgents and abducted them from their homes. Natalie Keyssar, National Geographic, "The cold cases of Guatemala’s civil war were impossible to identify—until now," 19 Dec. 2019

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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The first known use of death squad was in 1873

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Cite this Entry

“Death squad.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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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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