ho·​lo·​caust | \ ˈhō-lə-ˌkȯst How to pronounce holocaust (audio) , ˈhä- also -ˌkäst or ˈhȯ-lə-kȯst \

Definition of holocaust

1 : a sacrifice (see sacrifice entry 1 sense 2) consumed by fire
2 : a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire a nuclear holocaust
3a usually the Holocaust : the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II Several members of her family died in the Holocaust. a Holocaust survivor
b : a mass slaughter of people especially : genocide a holocaust in Rwanda

Synonyms for holocaust


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Examples of holocaust in a Sentence

The museum is devoted to the Holocaust. There were fears of a nuclear holocaust.
Recent Examples on the Web After witnessing the nuclear holocaust on November 25, 1963, Five is transported by Hazel to November 15, giving him time to stop the world from ending again. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 June 2022 This isn’t the first time Binance has accidentally alluded to the holocaust during one of its marketing campaigns. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 21 Apr. 2022 But, to most of the Western world, the symbol is more closely associated with Nazism and the holocaust. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 21 Apr. 2022 Nazi obliteration of Jews during World War II is our most common example of a holocaust, but Cameron felt strongly about using the word to describe the plight and injustices of his race, too. Mary Bergin, chicagotribune.com, 16 Feb. 2022 Biden is not going to listen to Pat Robertson egging him on, but there’s something really perverse about hoping for nuclear holocaust. Alex Morris, Rolling Stone, 6 Mar. 2022 Davis says the founder was asked to drop holocaust from the museum name, or move the museum to a different city, but Cameron refused. Mary Bergin, chicagotribune.com, 16 Feb. 2022 It was followed by a secret and emotional ramble from Khrushchev about the spectre of nuclear holocaust. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 11 Feb. 2022 Our family has been in the holocaust, pograms, the pontic genocide, and further back, The Spanish Inquisition. Fox News, 7 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of holocaust

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for holocaust

Middle English, from Late Latin holocaustum, from Greek holokauston, from neuter of holokaustos burnt whole, from hol- + kaustos burnt, from kaiein to burn — more at caustic

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Time Traveler for holocaust

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The first known use of holocaust was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Holocaust.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holocaust. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for holocaust


ho·​lo·​caust | \ ˈhä-lə-ˌkȯst How to pronounce holocaust (audio) , ˈhō-lə- \

Kids Definition of holocaust

1 : a complete destruction especially by fire
2 often capitalized : the killing of civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during World War II

More from Merriam-Webster on holocaust

Nglish: Translation of holocaust for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of holocaust for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about holocaust


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