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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Its gubernatorial candidate couldn’t even mount a competitive campaign against a noncombatant. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2022 Alessandro Nivola channels James Caan as a policeman who compensates cruelly for the drubbing that his self-image takes as a noncombatant owing to flat feet. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 10 Oct. 2022 Readily giving his military ID number but speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, the noncombatant said that two detainees died after beatings and another died from lack of medication for a preexisting condition., 18 Aug. 2021 The job of writing the official ballot descriptions should be turned over to a neutral noncombatant such as the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst’s Office. George Skelton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2020 Produced by Steven Soderbergh and directed by Paul Pawlowski, this documentary tells the story of a soldier who allegedly ordered his men to fire on noncombatants in Afghanistan. Noel Murray, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2020 Insomnia affects up to 41 percent of active-duty military personnel deployed to combat zones, 25 percent of noncombatants and 20 percent of those getting ready to deploy. Sig Christenson,, 24 Feb. 2020 As the Delta Force team breached the wall with explosives, an Arabic linguist advised children and other noncombatants how to flee, a decision commanders credited with saving 11 of the children Mr. al-Baghdadi had in his compound. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 27 Oct. 2019 These are his mother and siblings and younger self, in 1968, noncombatants caught in the midst of Nigeria’s civil war over the breakaway region of Biafra. Jesse Green, New York Times, 23 Sep. 2019 See More

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

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 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

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