holocaust

holocaust

[hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-]
noun
1.
a great or complete devastation or destruction, especially by fire.
2.
a sacrifice completely consumed by fire; burnt offering.
3.
(usually initial capital letter) the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II (usually preceded by the ).
4.
any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life.

Origin:
1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin holocaustum (Vulgate) < Greek holókauston (Septuagint), neuter of holókaustos burnt whole. See holo-, caustic

holocaustal, adjective
holocaustic, adjective


1. inferno, conflagration, ruin, havoc, ravage.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
holocaust (ˈhɒləˌkɔːst)
 
n
1.  great destruction or loss of life or the source of such destruction, esp fire
2.  (usually capital) the Churban, Also called the Shoah the mass murder of Jews and members of many other ethnic, social, and political groups in continental Europe between 1940 and 1945 by the Nazi regime
3.  a rare word for burnt offering
 
[C13: from Late Latin holocaustum whole burnt offering, from Greek holokauston, from holo- + kaustos, from kaiein to burn]
 
holo'caustal
 
adj
 
holo'caustic
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

holocaust
mid-13c., "sacrifice by fire, burnt offering," from Gk. holokauston, neut. of holokaustos "burned whole," from holos "whole" (see safe (adj.)) + kaustos, verbal adj. of kaiein "to burn." Originally a Bible word for "burnt offerings," given wider sense of "massacre, destruction
of a large number of persons" from 1833. The Holocaust "Nazi genocide of European Jews in World War II," first recorded 1957, earlier known in Heb. as Shoah "catastrophe." The word itself was used in English in reference to Hitler's Jewish policies from 1942, but not as a proper name for them.
"Auschwitz makes all too clear the principle that the human psyche can create meaning out of anything." [Robert Jay Lifton, "The Nazi Doctors"]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
Holocaust [(hol-uh-kawst, hoh-luh-kawst)]

The killing of some six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. To the Nazis, the Holocaust was the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish problem,” and would help them establish a pure German master race. Much of the killing took place in concentration camps, such as Auschwitz and Dachau. (See Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler.)

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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