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

Trump’s actions are an ethnic cleansing campaign in attempts to make America less diverse and keep whites in the majority in the U.S., says columnist Will Bunch. Oona Goodin-smith,, "Families of Cosmo DiNardo murder victims speak out, Pa. to pay $2M to fight teacher shortage | Morning Newsletter," 13 July 2018 More: Halting Myanmar ethnic cleansing: 5 critical steps But the area around Kutupalong is desperately unsuited to house so many people. Poppy Mcpherson, USA TODAY, "Elephants and Rohingya Muslim refugees jostle for space in Bangladesh," 18 Jan. 2018 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of ethnic cleansing

1991, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ethnic cleansing

Share ethnic cleansing

Statistics for ethnic cleansing

Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ethnic cleansing

The first known use of ethnic cleansing was in 1991

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ethnic cleansing

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

Comments on ethnic cleansing

What made you want to look up ethnic cleansing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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