para·​mil·​i·​tary | \ ˌper-ə-ˈmi-lə-ˌter-ē How to pronounce paramilitary (audio) , 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

Tensions have cooled between India and Pakistan since February, when Pakistani jihadists bombed an Indian paramilitary convoy in Kashmir and killed at least 40 Indian soldiers. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "China Shields a Jihadist," 15 Mar. 2019 The escalating violence began Feb. 14 with a terrorist bombing that killed 40 Indian paramilitary officers in Kashmir, an area that both India and Pakistan claim in a longstanding border dispute. Saeed Shah, WSJ, "Pakistan to Release Captured Indian Pilot, Easing Tensions," 28 Feb. 2019 The situation started on February 14th when a convoy of Indian paramilitary police forces in was attacked by a car bomb, killing 46 troops. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Aircraft Shot Down As Crisis Between India and Pakistan Escalates," 27 Feb. 2019 At least four people were killed and more than 300 injured in skirmishes among anti-Maduro protesters, Venezuelan soldiers and armed paramilitary groups called colectivos that are loyal to Mr. Maduro. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "U.S. Imposes New Sanctions on Venezuelan Regime," 25 Feb. 2019 Security was tight Tuesday morning in the Pyongyang airport, where another flight was unexpectedly delayed, and later at the Beijing airport where paramilitary police prevented journalists from shooting photos. Christopher Bodeen And Dake Kang,, "Kim Jong Un visiting China, expected to discuss his nuclear weapons," 19 June 2018 Security was tight Tuesday morning at the Beijing airport where paramilitary police prevented journalists from shooting photos. Mike James, USA TODAY, "North Korea leader Kim Jong Un will visit Beijing, Chinese state media says," 18 June 2018 Reuters described the groundbreaking report as the first time that soldiers and paramilitary police had been implicated in testimony from security personnel. James Griffiths, CNN, "Key witness allowed to testify in trial of Reuters journalists," 2 May 2018 China likely sees high demand for the vehicles in the Third World, particularly Africa and the Middle East, as well as domestic demand for the People's Armed Police (China's version of European gendarme-style paramilitary police). Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "China Parades Its Newest Tanks and Armored Vehicles," 8 Nov. 2016

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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Statistics for paramilitary

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

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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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