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pogrom, n.

Etymology:  < Yiddish pogrom and its etymon Russian pogrom, lit. ‘destruction’ (late 18th cent. in general sense) < pogrom-, stem of pogromit′ (perfective) to destroy.
Compare the following quot., which apparently shows an earlier isolated attestation of the Yiddish plural form in an English context:
1882   Times 17 Mar. 3/6   That the ‘Pogromen’ (riots against the Jews) must be stopped.

 1. In Russia, Poland, and some other East European countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: an organized massacre aimed at the destruction or annihilation of a body or class of people, esp. one conducted against Jewish people. Now hist.

1891   G. Kennan Siberia & Exile Syst. II. 236   Previous to the escape and the pogróm these women had been allowed to have interviews with their imprisoned husbands once or twice a week.
1903   Times 7 Dec. 10   The pogrom was first instituted after the assassination of Alexander II, in 1881, when anti-semitism and reaction flourished under General Ignatieff.
1905   Daily News 12 June 5   The only means of combating the ‘pogroms’ is armed resistance.
1919   N. Sokolow Hist. Zionism II. p. li,   Not even the dark ages extracted so heavy a toll of Jewish blood: something like 1400 pogroms took place all over the Ghetto.
1968   New Left Rev. Jan. 65   Then came the years of galloping inflation, of the pogroms, of acute social, political and intellectual ferment.
1979   O. Sela Petrograd Consignment 142   Wasn't he eager to go back to Russia..to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion again; wasn't another pogrom all he lived for.
1996   Christian Sci. Monitor (Boston) 6 Sept. 14/2   Mr Borodowsky's grandfather..immigrated to the desolate and empty Argentine pampas to escape the pogroms of czarist Russia.

1891—1996(Hide quotations)


 2. gen. An organized, officially tolerated, attack on any community or group. Also fig.

1906   Tribune 16 June 7/2   This was the immediate signal for a pogrom, or organized riot.
1920   H. J. C. Grierson in Proc. Brit. Acad. 1919–20 433   Only Henley refused to take part in the ‘pogrom’; and he alas! died before completing his work as champion, critic, and editor of Byron.
1936   H. A. L. Fisher Hist. Europe i. xviii. 232   The Greek Empire..had disgraced itself by a pogrom against the French and Italian colony in Constantinople.
1964   New Statesman 13 Mar. 405/1   The charge that there had been a plot—a ‘pogrom’ in the contemporary phrase—to crush Ulster's resistance to Home Rule by force of arms.
1975   R. Browning Emperor Julian iii. 51   Hannibalianus had been killed in 337 in the pogrom of his relations engineered by Constantius.
1995   Frank 13 Sept. 10/3   The current CBC downsizing pogrom is bringing out the worst among Corpse sluggos. Take, for example, the recent backstabbing of..the talented arts reporter.

1906—1995(Hide quotations)




  General attrib., as pogrom situation, pogrom war, etc.; pogrom-haunted, pogrom-threatened, adjs.

1917   Sci. Monthly Sept. 218   The ‘Black Band’ papers continued and increased their pogrom agitation, scattering broadcast accusations of treachery against the whole race.
1931   Times Lit. Suppl. 5 Nov. 855/2   Refugees to England from pogrom-haunted Russia.
1941   A. Koestler Scum of Earth 85   The French Government discovered a welcome diversion from the general discontent by exploiting the people's natural hostility to foreigners, and appealing to their pogrom instincts.
1949   A. Koestler Promise & Fulfilm. i. vii. 69   Many of these young men had been members of the Jewish self-defence organizations in the pogrom-threatened small towns of Russia.
1978   D. Murphy Place Apart viii. 167   Few of us would wish to see our army crossing the [Irish] border to fight Loyalist paramilitaries... If another ‘pogrom’ situation did arise..it would make more sense to welcome..refugees into the Republic.
1993   U.S. News & World Rep. 11 Jan. 29/3   In poverty-ravaged Egypt, fundamentalist gangs wage pogrom war on Christian Copts.

1917—1993(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, September 2006).

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