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holocaust

hol·o·caust

holocaust

 
pronunciation:
ha l kawst [or] ho l kawst
features:
Word Combinations (noun), Word History, Word Parts
part of speech: noun
definition 1: an extensive or thorough destruction or devastation, esp. by fire.
The dropping of the atomic bomb triggered a nuclear holocaust in Hiroshima, Japan.
synonyms:
conflagration, devastation
similar words:
cataclysm, destruction, firestorm, havoc, inferno
definition 2: (cap.) the systematic slaughter of Jews by Nazis during World War II.
The Holocaust is remembered as one of history's most atrocious crimes against humanity.Millions of people died in the Holocaust.
similar words:
annihilation, genocide, hecatomb, massacre, pogrom, slaughter
definition 3: a sacrificial offering that is set on fire and destroyed.
similar words:
auto-da-fé, hecatomb, sacrifice, suttee
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derivations: holocaustal (adj.), holocaustic (adj.)
Word History
Holocaust comes from an ancient Greek word meaning "burnt whole." The English word caustic also has Greek beginnings. A caustic chemical is one that causes a burning feeling on the skin. Compare the words "caustic" and "holocaust," and you may be able to guess which part of the word "holocaust" comes from the ancient Greek word for "burnt."
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