Definition of holocaust in English:

holocaust

noun

  • 1Destruction or slaughter on a mass scale, especially caused by fire or nuclear war.

    ‘a nuclear holocaust’
    • ‘The Cold War bred a generation obsessed with fear and concern about imminent 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?’
    • ‘Fear of chemical warfare was replaced by the fear of nuclear holocaust, and so science was again linked to mass destruction.’
    • ‘It was a real possibility that the entire world would end in a nuclear holocaust.’
    • ‘For the first time in two generations, the threat of nuclear holocaust engulfing humanity began to abate.’
    • ‘I felt like one of the survivors after a nuclear holocaust.’
    • ‘He could well have a nuclear holocaust on his hands before this was over.’
    • ‘Most of us have long forgotten the dread of nuclear holocaust that seemed almost inevitable prior to the fall of the Soviet Union.’
    • ‘The world came within an inch of nuclear holocaust during the Cuban missile crisis.’
    • ‘Another correspondent defines as holocausts the almost total destruction of some Maori tribes by other tribes.’
    • ‘Up to one million of the country's seven million people were slaughtered in a week-long holocaust.’
    • ‘And survivors of the Rwandan genocide and the holocaust work to keep the memories of their relatives alive.’
    • ‘For Antarctic mammals it was to be a holocaust; so many were slaughtered that by the 1830s there was virtually nothing left to kill.’
    cataclysm, disaster, catastrophe, destruction, devastation, demolition, annihilation, ravaging
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1the HolocaustThe 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.’

Origin

Middle English from Old French holocauste, via late Latin from Greek holokauston, from holos ‘whole’ + kaustos ‘burnt’ (from kaiein ‘burn’).

Pronunciation

holocaust

/ˈhɒləkɔːst/