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[kuh n-skrip-shuh n] /kənˈskrɪp ʃən/
compulsory enrollment of persons for military or naval service; draft.
a compulsory contribution of money to a government during a time of war.
Origin of conscription
1350-1400 for earlier sense “piece of writing”; 1795-1805 for current senses; Middle English conscripcioun < Latin conscrīptiōn- (stem of conscrīptiō) a drawing up in writing, levying of troops, equivalent to conscrīpt(us) (see conscript) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
conscriptional, adjective
anticonscription, noun
nonconscription, noun
proconscription, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for conscription
  • On account of some slight stiffness of the muscles of the neck, he had probably escaped conscription.
  • When conscription ends in a few days, the defense establishment will almost certainly shrink.
  • The nation had settled the question that it would not have conscription-Times.
  • The geographic isolation of the southeast-culminating in the conscription to the wilderness of the mountains-is immense.
  • Here is some height data from various statistical agencies and conscription studies.
  • Citizenship mattered in the days when defence relied on conscription.
  • His preferred plan would cut troop levels by a third and halt conscription, a suggestion that makes many in his own party uneasy.
  • Nationality apart, he was already past the age of conscription.
  • conscription, forced labour and other punitive measures soon followed.
  • Vaccination is the conscription of civilians in the war against bioterrorism.
British Dictionary definitions for conscription


compulsory military service
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 conscription

late 14c., "a putting in writing," from Middle French conscription, from Latin conscriptionem (nominative conscriptio) "a drawing up of a list, enrollment, a levying of soldiers," from conscribere "to enroll," from com- "with" (see com-) + scribere "to write" (see script (n.)).

Meaning "enlistment of soldiers" is from 1520s; the sense "compulsory enlistment for military service" (1800) is traceable to the French Republic act of Sept. 5, 1798. Technically, a conscription is the enrollment of a fixed number by lot, with options of providing a substitute.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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