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

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 That said, the visiting stars had a bit too good a time, diminishing their on-field performance and resulting in the head of the government's death squad being attached to their team's management. Mark Z. Barabak,, "He struck out at baseball, but made it big in politics. Now he's returned to his first love," 26 Mar. 2018 The peace agreement already is under threat from right-wing death squads, which have been killing former rebels, as well as by the government’s failure to follow through on economic development promises. Chris Kraul,, "Right-wing candidate has the edge going into Colombia's presidential election," 16 June 2018 As an opposition senator in the 2000s, Mr. Petro exposed ties between right-wing death squads and Colombian politicians, dozens of whom went to prison. John Otis, WSJ, "Colombia Vote Offers Stark Choice," 25 May 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

13 Nov 2018

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The first known use of death squad was in 1873

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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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