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 Some commentators have equated the NRC with ethnic cleansing, much like what the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar faced. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "India’s new Citizenship Act and national register of citizens are both inspired by “paranoia”," 15 Dec. 2019 Denis’ family escaped civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, where military forces carried out ethnic cleansing against Muslims, and his father was put in a concentration camp. Zayna Syed, Dallas News, "As Ramadan nears, North Texas Muslims confront the impact of COVID-19," 22 Apr. 2020 The most alarming case for European observers was the former Yugoslavia, which dissolved into its component states, which in turn were ravaged by genocidal ethnic cleansing. Alan Ryan, The New York Review of Books, "Whose Nationalism?," 10 Mar. 2020 For successive governments, condemnation of the events of 1915, whether as genocide, a war crime or ethnic cleansing, has been out of the question. The Economist, "How genocide denial warps Turkish politics," 7 Nov. 2019 More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape what has been described as an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes. NBC News, "Aung San Suu Kyi in court to defend Myanmar over genocide allegations," 11 Dec. 2019 This last is a relatively subtle celebration of Ukrainian nationalist movements in the Second World War—made official policy under Poroshenko, but highly controversial because these groups participated in ethnic cleansing of Poles and Jews. Sophie Pinkham, The New Yorker, "The Playful Propaganda of “The History of Ukraine”," 4 Feb. 2020 Global rights groups and the UN called the campaign ethnic cleansing involving rapes, killings and torching of thousands of homes. Julhas Alam,, "Bangladesh says once-submerged island ready for Rohingya," 16 Jan. 2020 Cultural destruction has forever been part and parcel of ethnic cleansing. Elizabeth Silkes, Time, "Cultural Heritage Reminds Us of Our Shared Humanity. That's Why Threats Against Them Are So Dangerous," 10 Jan. 2020

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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The first known use of ethnic cleansing was in 1991

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Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ethnic cleansing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ethnic cleansing Encyclopedia article about ethnic cleansing

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