Holocaust (HAWL-uh-kawst) listen


  • n. The systematic state-sponsored killing of six million Jews in World War II between 1941-45.

  • n. Genocide.

Example Sentences

  • "The Holocaust has a number of causes. Its direct cause is the fact that the Nazis wanted to exterminate the Jews and that they were able to do so. But their lust for murder didn't come out of nowhere. The antisemitic Nazi ideology must be considered in the broader context of the age-old hostility towards Jews, modern racism, and nationalism." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • English

Who Uses This

  • Jews: Jews of diverse religious backgrounds and organizational involvements
  • Non-Jews: (words that have spread outside of Jewish networks)


  • North America


  • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
  • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).


  • "During these years, Jews were first excluded from community life, then forced to live in ghettos, and later transported to concentration camps where they were killed. Six million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis during World War II; entire Jewish communities were wiped out. The Holocaust is called Shoah in Hebrew. In the State of Israel and throughout the Diaspora, the Holocaust is commemorated on an annual memorial day, Yom ha-Shoah, on the 27th of Nisan." (JPS)

    See also Shoah.

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