holy war


: a war or violent campaign waged often by religious extremists for what is considered to be a holy purpose

Examples of holy war in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In Herbert’s novel, and Denis Villeneuve's 2021 Dune, Paul is reluctant to kick off the holy war to end all holy wars. Max Evry, WIRED, 10 Jan. 2024 American author and journalist Andy Ngo reported on X, formerly Twitter, about protesters at the Hizb ut-Tahrir rally who urged a Muslim holy war against the Jewish state. Benjamin Weinthal, Fox News, 23 Oct. 2023 In March, 2022, the Pope and two Vatican advisers in interchurch relations met via Zoom with Kirill—a Putin loyalist who has characterized the invasion as a holy war—and two Russian Orthodox officials. Paul Elie, The New Yorker, 25 July 2023 Religious leaders endorsed by the state presented the fight against Hitler as a holy war, blending Islamic devotion with Soviet patriotism. Jeff Eden, Foreign Affairs, 19 Apr. 2022 Timimi preached that the Sept. 11 attacks portended a global holy war between Muslims and non-believers. Matthew Barakat, Star Tribune, 18 Aug. 2020 For Torba, this seems to be a welcome challenge, something akin to a holy war. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, 23 Aug. 2021 Is there a holy war between oval and square devotees and this was the compromise? Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, 24 Mar. 2023 Plus the star himself has openly expressed interest in returning to the holy war raging on the streets of Los Angeles. Meredith Woerner, Variety, 16 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'holy war.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1639, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of holy war was in 1639

Dictionary Entries Near holy war

Cite this Entry

“Holy war.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holy%20war. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

holy war

: a war or violent campaign carried on for what is considered a holy purpose

More from Merriam-Webster on holy war

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