An example of genocide is the Holocaust during which Hitler commanded the Nazi regime to kill Jews.
Origin of genocidefrom Classical Greek genos, race, kind (see genus) + -cide: coined by R. Lemkin (1900-59), lawyer and human-rights advocate, born in Poland, to characterize the attempted extermination of the Jews by Nazi Germany
Origin of genocideGreek genos race ; see genə- in Indo-European roots. -cide
(countable and uncountable, plural genocides)
Genocide is defined in various laws, and used in varying ways; characterization of an act as “genocide” is a strong condemnation, and may prove contentious.
Narrowly speaking, genocide was coined to mean, and is generally used in law to mean, the destruction of an ethnic group qua group, whether killing of all members of the group or other means, such as dispersing the group. In common usage, “genocide” is often used to mean “systematic mass killing”, whether or not the purpose is the destruction of the group or some other purpose, such as terrorizing the group.
Specific genocides are often capitalized, e.g. "Armenian Genocide".
- See also: -cide: Derived terms
Coined in 1943 by Raphael Lemkin (1900–1959), a Polish-Jewish legal scholar, to describe what the Turkish government perpetrated against the Armenian people between about 1915 and 1918: the Armenian Genocide. From the stem of Ancient Greek γένος (génos, “race, kind”) or Latin gēns (“tribe, clan”) (as in genus), + -cide (“killing, killer”).