non·​com·​bat·​ant ˌnän-kəm-ˈba-tᵊnt How to pronounce noncombatant (audio)
ˌnän-ˈkäm-bə-tənt How to pronounce noncombatant (audio)
: one that does not engage in combat: such as
: a member (such as a chaplain) of the armed forces whose duties do not include fighting
noncombatant adjective

Examples of noncombatant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In a speech to the Israeli Parliament on Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said the military had sought to protect noncombatants, by issuing evacuation orders, adding that about a million civilians had left Rafah ahead of, or during, the offensive. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, 27 May 2024 And along with exchanges of prisoners of war and noncombatants who had been detained amid the conflict, the limited cooperation between Russia and Ukraine shows that the two sides can still find a measure of middle ground, at least on humanitarian issues. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 23 May 2024 But the laws of war, which forbid targeting noncombatants or harming prisoners, are essential to how the United States distinguishes its own use of force from that of rogue states and terrorists. Matthieu Aikins Victor J. Blue Peter Ganim Krish Seenivasan Steven Szczesniak, New York Times, 22 May 2024 The Israeli assault on Gaza has left the Strip in ruins, and has left at least 32,000 Gazans dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and noncombatants. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2024 The high civilian death toll, Israeli officials argued, was the consequence of Hamas waging war among noncombatants. Chuck Quirmbach, NPR, 2 Apr. 2024 The letter says that journalists are civilians and that Israeli authorities must protect them as noncombatants in accordance with international law. David Bauder, Fortune, 1 Mar. 2024 Personnel tasked with portraying noncombatants capture photos and videos of troop locations and equipment, and upload the imagery to a mock social network called Fakebook. Alex Horton, Washington Post, 22 Feb. 2024 The figure does not differentiate between combatants and noncombatants, but officials say that two-thirds of the victims have been women and children. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 26 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'noncombatant.' 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

1811, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of noncombatant was in 1811

Dictionary Entries Near noncombatant

Cite this Entry

“Noncombatant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a member (as a chaplain) of the armed forces whose duties do not include fighting
noncombatant adjective

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