ethnic cleansing


Definition of ethnic cleansing 

: the expulsion, imprisonment, or killing of an ethnic minority by a dominant majority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity

Examples of ethnic cleansing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Violence against the Rohingya, nearly all of whom are Muslim, in the country’s Rakhine state has been likened to ethnic cleansing and has tarnished the reputation of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate whose party now controls Myanmar. Gardiner Harris, New York Times, "Myanmar Is Intensifying Violence Against Ethnic Minorities, U.S. Says," 29 May 2018 Zuckerberg told Vox’s Ezra Klein a story about receiving a phone call related to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Fortune, "Facebook Scans the Photos, Links and Some of the Conversations You Send on Messenger," 5 Apr. 2018 Several governments, human rights groups and international organizations have warned that the military's offensive may amount to ethnic cleansing. Deutsche Welle, USA TODAY, "Holocaust Museum pulls Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's human rights award," 7 Mar. 2018 Another major question is whether the takeover would lead to ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish majority there. Washington Post, "AP Explains: What’s next after Turkey seizes Syria’s Afrin," 19 Mar. 2018 Yet its new account still pulls its punches by failing to state explicitly that the regime committed starvation — genocide of the Ukrainians, and smaller genocides and ethnic cleansings of nations including Balts, Tatars, and Poles. David Randall, National Review, "The College Board Still Can’t See Europe Straight," 10 Jan. 2018 Assam’s pursuit of slow, democratic and legally sanctioned ethnic cleansing is also causing friction with the central government. The Economist, "From dusty villages to Delhi, Indians seek people to persecute," 5 July 2018 Not that long ago, Western governments took human rights seriously enough to send their soldiers into Kosovo to protect civilians from the threat of ethnic cleansing. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "Populist wave, 'crisis overload' weaken global voices for human rights," 22 June 2018 Another Nobel laureate, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, one of three laureates to receive the award while under arrest, has had other awards revoked because of her failure to even acknowledge the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar. New York Times, "President Trump a Nobel Laureate? It’s a Possibility," 9 May 2018

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

1991, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

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The first known use of ethnic cleansing was in 1991

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ethnic cleansing


English Language Learners Definition of ethnic cleansing

: the practice of removing or killing people who belong to an ethnic group that is different from the ruling group in a country or region

More from Merriam-Webster on ethnic cleansing Encyclopedia article about ethnic cleansing

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