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Skulls of the victims of the 1975–1979 Cambodian genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge at the Choeung Ek memorial


Formed in English from the Latin gēns (a race, nation, or people”, “a clan or family, oblique stem: gent-) + the English -cide (a killing of), representing a hypothetical Latin etymon of the form *genticīdium, regularly formed from gēns +‎ -cīdium. Compare genericide and genocide.



genticide (plural genticides)

  1. (rare) The killing of a race or nation of people; the slaughter of an ethnic group; a genocide.
    • 1837, Dissertation on the Subject of a Congress of Nations, for the Adjustment of International Disputes without Recourse to Arms, page 46:
      When we call unjust war murder, we give it too mild a name. It is wholesale murder; it is what might be denominated genticide, or the murder of nations.
    • 1940, T’ien Hsia Monthly XI, page 50:
      This cadaverous insistence upon our extinction is curdling my blood. Homicide! More than that — Genticide!
    • 2008, Bartolomé Clavero Salvador, Genocide or Ethnocide, 1933–2007, chapter ii, page 31, footnote 28:
      R. Lemkin…starting with the definition of genocide and adding the synonym of ethnocide in a note; in the Preface…he puts in fratricide as another precedent for the new wording; regarding the twins, genticide and genoktony would have been better variants as both bear roots from the same language, either Latin or Greek; Lemkin himself also coined the word ktonotechnics for genocidal methods…the former coinage was in fact proposed: Marion Pei…(“genticide has been suggested as a non-hybrid, all-Latin substitute”); Francisco P. Laplaza, El delito de genocidio o genticidio…Chris Pratt, El anglicismo en el español peninsular contemporáneo…(“la forma debería ser genticide o genericide”, the latter from genus).
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:genticide.
  2. (rare) The killing of a kinsman or kinswoman; the murder of a blood relative.
    • 1916, Ernest Watson Burgess, The Function of Socialization in Social Evolution, page 82:
      Thus the hatred of the kin group was the highest penalty for genticide or the murder of a clansman.
    • 1959, A. Bronson Feldman, The Unconscious in History, page 170:
      The term I shall employ is genticide, from the Latin gens meaning blood-relation or kin.
    • ibidem, page 253:
      The metamorphosis of actual incest and genticide into astral saga was probably promoted by the savage belief that changes in weather and the aspects of the skies were somehow responses to their outrages of lust.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:genticide.

Usage notesEdit

  • This term occurs most frequently as a construction to be preferred to genocide on etymological grounds.