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[uh-tros-i-tee] /əˈtrɒs ɪ ti/
noun, plural atrocities.
the quality or state of being atrocious.
an atrocious act, thing, or circumstance.
Origin of atrocity
1525-35; < Latin atrōcitās, equivalent to atrōci- (stem of atrōx) fierce + -tās -ty2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for atrocities
  • There is a huge difference between rewriting or airbrushing history and renouncing its atrocities.
  • Probably, it serves the powers-that-be right after the atrocities they have committed.
  • Many of the refugees suffered horrendous atrocities along the way.
  • Generally, such people that commit to atrocities have experienced mental difficulties.
  • But there are plenty of accounts of more low-tech atrocities.
  • It is this kind of logic that has always been behind history's atrocities.
  • My only surprise is that this odious group hasn't yet managed to cause many more atrocities.
  • It's a great lesson to anyone familiar with other wars and atrocities.
  • Untouchables living at the bottom of society are subjected to indignities and atrocities.
  • atrocities of unimaginable and terrifying scope occur in wartime.
British Dictionary definitions for atrocities


noun (pl) -ties
behaviour or an action that is wicked or ruthless
the fact or quality of being atrocious
(usually pl) acts of extreme cruelty, esp against prisoners or civilians in wartime
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for atrocities



1530s, from Middle French atrocité or directly from Latin atrocitatem (nominative atrocitas) "cruelty, fierceness, harshness," noun of quality from atrox "fierce, cruel, frightful," from PIE *atro-ek-, from root *ater- "fire" (see atrium) + *okw- "see" (see eye (n.)); thus "of fiery or threatening appearance." The meaning "an atrocious deed" is from 1793.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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