One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially caused by fire or nuclear war.‘a nuclear holocaust’
cataclysm, disaster, catastrophe, destruction, devastation, demolition, annihilation, ravagingView synonyms
- ‘For Antarctic mammals it was to be a holocaust; so many were slaughtered that by the 1830s there was virtually nothing left to kill.’
- ‘Up to one million of the country's seven million people were slaughtered in a week-long holocaust.’
- ‘I felt like one of the survivors after a nuclear holocaust.’
- ‘When this song was written, people till saw the threat of nuclear holocaust as a very real thing and the lyrics describe the moment that the first bomb goes off.’
- ‘Why should they, on top of everything else they go through, have to suffer the terror of anticipating a nuclear holocaust?’
- ‘This is a racist holocaust, where people are targeted for slaughter because of their ethnicity - yet many people deny this basic truth.’
- ‘He could well have a nuclear holocaust on his hands before this was over.’
- ‘The world came within an inch of nuclear holocaust during the Cuban missile crisis.’
- ‘It was a real possibility that the entire world would end in a nuclear holocaust.’
- ‘Fear of chemical warfare was replaced by the fear of nuclear holocaust, and so science was again linked to mass destruction.’
- ‘It was enough to know that Israel would be a place of refuge for Jews around the world if another holocaust threatened.’
- ‘For the first time in two generations, the threat of nuclear holocaust engulfing humanity began to abate.’
- ‘Most of us have long forgotten the dread of nuclear holocaust that seemed almost inevitable prior to the fall of the Soviet Union.’
- ‘Another correspondent defines as holocausts the almost total destruction of some Maori tribes by other tribes.’
- ‘His personal loss, the holocaust and the general exhaustion and destruction of the war coloured his work for many years.’
- ‘And survivors of the Rwandan genocide and the holocaust work to keep the memories of their relatives alive.’
- ‘The Cold War bred a generation obsessed with fear and concern about imminent nuclear holocaust.’
- 1.1the Holocaust The mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime during the period 1941–5. More than 6 million European Jews, as well as members of other persecuted groups, were murdered at concentration camps such as Auschwitz.
2historical A Jewish sacrificial offering which was burnt completely on an altar.
- ‘In open sacrifice, the smoke of their holocaust at the temple is sent aloft with an unspoken prayer to the old gods.’
Middle English: from Old French holocauste, via late Latin from Greek holokauston, from holos ‘whole’ + kaustos ‘burnt’ (from kaiein ‘burn’).
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