para·​mil·​i·​tary | \ˌper-ə-ˈmi-lə-ˌter-ē, ˌpa-rə-\

Definition of paramilitary 

: of, relating to, being, or characteristic of a force formed on a military pattern especially as a potential auxiliary military force a paramilitary border patrol paramilitary training

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Other Words from paramilitary

paramilitary noun

Did You Know?

This term paramilitary can take in a wide range of organizations, but is usually applied to forces formed by a government. Groups opposing a government, even when organized along military lines, are more often referred to as guerrillas or insurgents. In countries with weak central governments (such as, in recent times, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, or Congo), warlords may form their own paramilitary forces and take over all local police and military functions. Paramilitary often has a sinister sound today, since it's also applied to groups of off-duty military or police personnel who carry out illegal violence, often at night, with the quiet support of a government.

Examples of paramilitary in a Sentence

Government forces have been attacked by heavily armed paramilitary groups in several villages.

Recent Examples on the Web

Prosecutors also accused Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants. Fox News, "Bahrain prosecutors charge 169 over alleged militant ring," 25 Sep. 2018 Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard responded to the attack by launching six missiles into eastern Syria targeting Islamic State militants. Amir Vahdat And Jon Gambrell,, "Iran executes 8 over 2017 Islamic State attack on Tehran," 7 July 2018 Prosecutors also alleged defendants received training and support from Iran and its hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Jon Gambrell,, "Bahrain revokes citizenship of 115 people in mass trial," 16 May 2018 Authorities also have deployed additional police and members of the Basij, a volunteer organization affiliated with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. Time, "3,700 Iranian Protesters Have Been Arrested by the Government, Lawmaker Says," 9 Jan. 2018 Colombia’s conflict between leftist rebels, the state and paramilitary groups left at least 260,000 dead, some 60,000 missing and millions displaced. Manuel Rueda, The Seattle Times, "Incoming Colombia president faces long list of challenges," 6 Aug. 2018 Police and paramilitary soldiers in riot gear and carrying automatic rifles laid steel barricades and coiled razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighborhoods in a bid to stop protests. Fox News, "Strike, curfew shuts Kashmir on rebel's death anniversary," 8 July 2018 Also on Friday, at least nine police and paramilitary soldiers were injured when rebels attacked their patrol with a grenade and gunfire in southern Tral town, police said. Aijaz Hussain, The Christian Science Monitor, "India takes control of Kashmir territory," 25 June 2018 The dashing aviator, who previously led the Blackshirts paramilitary units, received a hero's welcome from the Italian-American community, and the downtown street was soon rededicated in his honor. John Greenfield, Chicago Reader, "Monument to fascist Balbo likely to remain, but aldermen could still rename street," 23 Apr. 2018

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

1935, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for paramilitary

The first known use of paramilitary was in 1935

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English Language Learners Definition of paramilitary

: of or relating to a group that is not an official army but that operates and is organized like an army

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More from Merriam-Webster on paramilitary

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with paramilitary

Nglish: Translation of paramilitary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of paramilitary for Arabic Speakers

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to make faulty or ineffective

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