- Used other than as an idiom: see enemy, combatant.
- (US, military) Any person in an armed conflict who may be properly detained under the laws and customs of war.
For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.
The term 'enemy combatant' has historically referred to any member of the armed forces of a state with which another state is at war. In the 'war on terrorism', however, combatants may come from multiple nations, wear no uniforms, and use unconventional weapons; because they are not defined by simple, readily apparent criteria such as citizenship or military uniforms, the power of a state to name people 'enemy combatants' is, according to some legal scholars, extraordinarily broad.
- ^ JP 1-02 Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms