holocaust

noun ho·lo·caust \ ˈhō-lə-ˌkȯst , ˈhä- also -ˌkäst or ˈhȯ-lə-kȯst \
Updated on: 3 Feb 2018

Definition of holocaust

1 : a sacrifice (see 1sacrifice 2) consumed by fire
2 : a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire
  • a nuclear holocaust
3 a often capitalized : the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II usually used with the
  • Several members of her family died in the holocaust.
b : a mass slaughter of people; especially : genocide
  • a holocaust in Rwanda

Examples of holocaust in a Sentence

  1. The museum is devoted to the Holocaust.

  2. There were fears of a nuclear holocaust.

Recent Examples of holocaust from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'holocaust.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of holocaust

Middle English, from Late Latin holocaustum, from Greek holokauston, from neuter of holokaustos burnt whole, from hol- + kaustos burnt, from kaiein to burn — more at caustic



HOLOCAUST Defined for English Language Learners

holocaust

noun

Definition of holocaust for English Language Learners

  • the Holocaust : the killing of millions of Jews and other people by the Nazis during World War II

  • : an event or situation in which many people are killed and many things are destroyed especially by fire


HOLOCAUST Defined for Kids

holocaust

noun ho·lo·caust \ ˈhä-lə-ˌkȯst , ˈhō-lə- \

Definition of holocaust for Students

1 : a complete destruction especially by fire
2 often capitalized : the killing of civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II


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