Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
1. Great destruction resulting in the extensive loss of life, especially by fire.
a. Holocaust The genocide of European Jews and other groups by the Nazis during World War II: "Israel emerged from the Holocaust and is defined in relation to that catastrophe" (Emanuel Litvinoff).
b. A massive slaughter: "an important document in the so-far sketchy annals of the Cambodian holocaust" (Rod Nordland).
3. A sacrificial offering that is consumed entirely by flames.
[Middle English, burnt offering, from Old French holocauste, from Latin holocaustum, from Greek holokauston, from neuter of holokaustos, burnt whole : holo-, holo- + kaustos, burnt (from kaiein, to burn).]
hol′o·caus′tal, hol′o·caus′tic adj.
Usage Note: Holocaust has a secure place in the language when it refers to the massive destruction of humans by other humans. In our 1987 survey 99 percent of the Usage Panel accepted the use of holocaust in the phrase nuclear holocaust. Sixty percent accepted the sentence As many as two million people may have died in the holocaust that followed the Khmer Rouge takeover in Cambodia. But because of its associations with genocide, people may object to extended applications of holocaust. The percentage of the Panel's acceptance drops sharply when people use the word to refer to death brought about by natural causes. In our 1999 survey 47 percent approved the sentence In East Africa five years of drought have brought about a holocaust in which millions have died. Just 16 percent approved The press gives little coverage to the holocaust of malaria that goes on, year after year, in tropical countries, where there is no mention of widespread mortality. The Panel has little enthusiasm for more figurative usages of holocaust. In 1999, only 7 percent accepted Numerous small investors lost their stakes in the holocaust that followed the precipitous drop in stocks. This suggests that these extended uses of the word may be viewed as overblown or in poor taste.
Word History: Totality of destruction has been central to the meaning of holocaust since it first appeared in Middle English in the 1300s, used in reference to the biblical sacrifice in which a male animal was wholly burnt on the altar in worship of God. Holocaust comes from Greek holokauston, "that which is completely burnt," which was a translation of Hebrew 'ōlâ (literally "that which goes up," that is, in smoke). In this sense of "burnt sacrifice," holocaust is still used in some versions of the Bible. In the 1600s, the meaning of holocaust broadened to "something totally consumed by fire," and the word eventually was applied to fires of extreme destructiveness. In the 1900s, holocaust took on a variety of figurative meanings, summarizing the effects of war, rioting, storms, epidemic diseases, and even economic failures. Most of these usages arose after World War II, but it is unclear whether they permitted or resulted from the use of holocaust in reference to the mass murder of European Jews and others by the Nazis. This application of the word occurred as early as 1942, but the phrase the Holocaust did not become established until the late 1950s. Here it parallels and may have been influenced by another Hebrew word, šô'â, "catastrophe" (in English, Shoah). In the Bible šô'â has a range of meanings including "personal ruin or devastation" and "a wasteland or desert." Šô'â was first used to refer to the Nazi slaughter of Jews in 1939, but the phrase haš-šô'â, "the catastrophe," became established only after World War II. Holocaust has also been used to translate ḥurbān, "destruction," another Hebrew word used as a name for the genocide of Jews by the Nazis.
1. great destruction or loss of life or the source of such destruction, esp fire
2. (Historical Terms) (usually capital) Also called: the Churban or 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. (Ecclesiastical Terms) a rare word for burnt offering
[C13: from Late Latin holocaustum whole burnt offering, from Greek holokauston, from holo- + kaustos, from kaiein to burn]
ˌholoˈcaustal, ˌholoˈcaustic adj
hol•o•caust(ˈhɒl əˌkɔst, ˈhoʊ lə-)
1. a great or complete devastation or destruction, esp. by fire.
2. a sacrifice consumed by fire.
3. the Holocaust, the systematic mass slaughter of European Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
4. any reckless destruction of life.
[1200–50; Middle English < Late Latin holocaustum (Vulgate) < Greek holókauston (Septuagint), neuter of holókaustos burnt whole]
1. a burnt offering or sacrifice.See also: Killing
2. large-scale destruction by fire or other violent means.
2. large-scale destruction by fire or other violent means.
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||holocaust - an act of mass destruction and loss of life (especially in war or by fire); "a nuclear holocaust"|
|2.||Holocaust - the mass murder of Jews under the German Nazi regime from 1941 until 1945|
1. devastation, destruction, carnage, genocide, inferno, annihilation, conflagration A nuclear holocaust seemed a very real possibility in the '50s.
مُحْرَقَه، كارثَه، إبادة كامِلَه
brennifórn; fjöldamorî, òjóîarmorî
holokaustasmasinis sudeginimasmasinis sunaikinimas
holokausts, masveida iznīcināšana
mahvolmatamamen yok olma
holocaust[ˈhɒləkɔːst] N (fig) → holocausto m
holocaust[ˈhɒləˌkɔːst] n → olocausto
great destruction, usually by fire, especially of people's lives. slagting مُحْرَقَه، كارثَه، إبادة كامِلَه унищожение holocausto vyhlazení die Massenvernichtung holocaust; masseudryddelse ολοκαύτωμαholocausto suur häving, holokaust همه سوزی tuho holocausteשואה महाविनाश opci pokolj, opce razaranje holokauszt malapetaka brennifórn; fjöldamorð, þjóðarmorð olocausto 大虐殺 대참사 masinis sunaikinimas/sudeginimas holokausts, masveida iznīcināšana kehancuran vernietigingkatastrofebrannzagłada سوځیدل holocausto holocaust массовое уничтожение (людей) úplné zničenie (ohňom), holokaust veliko razdejanje; holokavst holokaust förödelse, katastrof, förhärjande brand ความหายนะ mahvolma, tamamen yok olma (常指大火造成的)大浩劫, 大屠殺 знищення; масове винищення آگ وغیرہ سے زبردست تباہی sự tàn sát 大毁灭，大屠杀the Holocaust
the annihilation of six million Jews during the second world war. Joodse volksmoord الكارثَة اليهوديَّه холокост Holocausto holocaust der Holocaust Holocaust το Ολοκαύτωμα Holocausto holokaust کشتار یهودیان توسط آلمان ها juutalaisten joukkomurha toisessa maailmansodassa l'Holocauste “הַשׁוֹאָה” दूसरे विश्वयुद्ध के दौरान यहूदियों का कत्ले आम Holokaust, genocid nad Židovima u Drugom svjetskom ratu a holokauszt pemusnahan, pembakaran Olocausto （ナチによる）ユダヤ人大虐殺 나치에 의한 유태인 대학살 holokaustas holokausts Holocaust holocaustholocaust, folkemord holokaust د یهودیانو وژنه د المانیانو په واسطه холокост holocaust pokol Židov Holokaust Förintelsen การทำลายจนสิ้น kıyım, ırk kıyımı 納粹對猶太人的大屠殺 Холокост دوسری عالمی جنگ کے دوران ساٹھ لاکھ یہودیوں کا قتل عام cuộc tàn sát người Do Thái 大屠杀（指纳粹对犹太人的种族灭绝）