internecine

[17] Etymologically, internecine denotes ‘attended by great slaughter’. Its modern connotations of ‘conflict within a group’, which can be traced back to the 18th century (Dr Johnson in his Dictionary 1755 defines it as ‘endeavouring mutual destruction’), presumably arise from the standard interpretation of inter- as ‘among, between’. But in fact in the case of internecine it was originally used simply as an intensive prefix. The word was borrowed from Latin internecīnus, a derivative of internecāre ‘slaughter, exterminate’. This was a compound verb formed with the intensive inter- from necāre ‘kill’ (a relative of English necromancy and pernicious). => NECROMANCY, PERNICIOUS

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.

Synonyms:

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  • internecine — Dr Johnson had a hand in changing the use of this word, which its Latin origin shows to mean ‘characterized by great slaughter’. He mistakenly understood the prefix inter to denote reciprocal or mutual action and defined internecine as… …   Modern English usage

  • Internecine — In ter*ne cine, a. [L. internecinus deadly, murderous, fr. internecare to kill, to slaughter; inter between + necare to kill; akin to Gr. ? dead. See {Necromancy}.] 1. Involving, or accompanied by, mutual slaughter; mutually destructive. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • internecine — ► ADJECTIVE 1) destructive to both sides in a conflict. 2) relating to conflict within a group: internecine rivalries. ORIGIN Latin internecinus, from inter among + necare to kill …   English terms dictionary

  • internecine — index deadly, destructive, detrimental, harmful, lethal, noxious Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • internecine — (adj.) 1660s, deadly, destructive, from L. internecinus very deadly, murderous, destructive, from internecare kill or destroy, from inter (see INTER (Cf. inter )) + necare kill (see NOXIOUS (Cf. noxious)). Considered in the OED as misinterpreted… …   Etymology dictionary

  • internecine — [in΄tər nē′sin, in΄tər nē′sēn΄; ] chiefly Brit [, in΄tərnē′sīn΄] adj. [L internecinus < internecare, to kill, destroy < inter , between + necare, to kill: see NECRO ] 1. Now Rare full of slaughter or destruction 2. deadly or harmful to both …   English World dictionary

  • internecine — in·ter·nec·ine (ĭn′tər nĕs’ēn′, ĭn, nē’sīn′) adj. 1) Of or relating to struggle within a nation, organization, or group. 2) Mutually destructive; ruinous or fatal to both sides. 3) Characterized by bloodshed or carnage. ╂ [Latin internecīnus,… …   Word Histories

  • internecine — adjective /ˌɪntəˈniːsaɪn,ˌɪntɚˈnɛsin/ a) Mutually destructive; most often applied to warfare. Internecine strife in Gaza claimed its most senior victim yesterday when militants assassinated one of the most hated security chiefs there. b)… …   Wiktionary

  • internecine — in|ter|ne|cine [ˌıntəˈni:saın US ˌıntərˈni:sən, ˈnesi:n] adj [only before noun] formal [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: internecinus, from internecare to destroy completely , from necare to kill ] internecine fighting or struggles happen… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • internecine — [[t]ɪ̱ntə(r)ni͟ːsaɪn, AM siːn[/t]] ADJ: ADJ n An internecine conflict, war, or quarrel is one which takes place between opposing groups within a country or organization. [FORMAL] The whole episode has drawn attention again to internecine strife… …   English dictionary

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