internecine

adjective
in·ter·ne·cine | \ˌin-tər-ˈne-ˌsēn, -ˈnē-sᵊn, -ˈnē-ˌsīn, -nə-ˈsēn;in-ˈtər-nə-ˌsēn\

Definition of internecine 

1 : marked by slaughter : deadly especially : mutually destructive

2 : of, relating to, or involving conflict within a group bitter internecine feuds

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Did You Know?

Internecine comes from the Latin internecinus ("fought to the death" or "destructive"), which traces to the verb "necare" ("to kill") and the prefix inter-. ("Inter-" usually means "between" or "mutual" in Latin, but it can also indicate the completion of an action.) Internecine meant "deadly" when it appeared in English in 1663, but when Samuel Johnson entered it in his dictionary almost a century later, he was apparently misled by "inter-" and defined the word as "endeavouring mutual destruction." Johnson's definition was carried into later dictionaries, and before long his sense was the dominant meaning of the word. "Internecine" developed the association with internal group conflict in the 20th century, and that's the most common sense today.

Examples of internecine in a Sentence

a political party that has suffered because of bitter internecine rivalries

Recent Examples on the Web

The internecine conflict could become all-consuming in the free-for-all nominating contest to take on Trump in 2020 and cause a leftward lurch that helps the president win reelection. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Crowley going down spotlights the looming Democratic identity crisis," 27 June 2018 In a state that is still largely rural and tinged with a libertarian mistrust of big government, Mr. Tester drives a beat-up pickup truck, shoots guns and has little to say about his party’s internecine fights. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Jon Tester, a Democrat in Deep-Red Montana, Isn’t Sweating Trump’s Threats," 3 June 2018 Most described traveling hundreds of miles only to find themselves in the midst of internecine fights for territorial control, rather than battling Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces or helping civilians. Fox News, "Europe faces a wave of freed terror convicts. Is it ready?," 11 May 2018 The modern Middle East has been plagued by ruinous wars: country versus country, civil wars with internecine and sectarian bloodletting, and numerous eruptions centered in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Washington Post, "Mideast conflicts connected by vying powerbrokers," 17 May 2018 In commercials, Republican Mike Braun exploited the internecine fighting between Messer and Rokita. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "House Republicans had a bad night – can they prevent a bad November?," 10 May 2018 The abduction will be pinned on a rival cartel, resulting in an internecine war: bring on the worst of times. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Borderland Brutality of “Sicario 2: Soldado”," 9 July 2017 With the rise of populist movements in the U.S. and Europe, a kind of internecine warfare has broken out among writers and thinkers of a conservative cast of mind. Richard Aldous, WSJ, "‘Conservativism’ Review: Holding On to the Good Things," 14 June 2018 But in the post-equality era, the play stands as a compelling portrayal of internecine savagery bred by the stigma of isolation and oppression, by turns bitingly funny and moving. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Boys in the Band': Theater Review," 1 June 2018

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

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for internecine

Latin internecinus, from internecare to destroy, kill, from inter- + necare to kill, from nec-, nex violent death — more at noxious

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Statistics for internecine

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for internecine

The first known use of internecine was in 1642

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More Definitions for internecine

internecine

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of internecine

: occurring between members of the same country, group, or organization

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