conscientious objection

refusal on moral or religious grounds to bear arms in a military conflict or to serve in the armed forces.


conscientious objector, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
conscientious objector
a person who refuses to serve in the armed forces on the grounds of conscience

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

conscientious objector
1899, with ref. to British government in India and religious scruples about mandatory vaccination. Military sense predominated from World War I.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
conscientious objector (CO)

A person who refuses to render military service on the grounds of moral principle or religious belief. A CO must demonstrate a sincere, active, and long-standing objection in order to receive an exemption from armed service. The United States and some European governments officially recognize CO status; approved COs are usually required to perform social service or noncombat military service in place of armed duty. (See also draft, draft dodger, and Selective Service System.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
He tried to get out of the military as a conscientious objector after that.
He or she could get out of performing the execution by claiming status as a conscientious objector, which would always be granted.
Here was the conscientious objector with the same determination to prevent a far worse war.
As a delinquent, he was disallowed an appeal as a conscientious objector.
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