What does holy war mean?

Definitions for holy war
ho·ly war

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word holy war.

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  1. holy warnoun

    A war that is entirely, primarily, or ostensibly religious in motivation; a war over religion.


  1. holy war

    A religious war or a war of religion, sometimes also known as a holy war (Latin: sanctum bellum), is a war which is primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. In the modern period, there are frequent debates over the extent to which religious, economic, ethnic or other aspects of a conflict are predominant in a given war. The degree to which a war may be considered religious depends on many underlying questions, such as the definition of religion, the definition of 'religious war' (taking religious traditions on violence such as 'holy war' into account), and the applicability of religion to war as opposed to other possible factors. Answers to these questions heavily influence conclusions on how prevalent religious wars have been as opposed to other types of wars. According to scholars such as Jeffrey Burton Russell, conflicts may not be rooted strictly in religion and instead may be a cover for the underlying secular power, ethnic, social, political, and economic reasons for conflict. Other scholars have argued that what is termed "religious wars" is a largely "Western dichotomy" and a modern invention from the past few centuries, arguing that all wars that are classed as "religious" have secular (economic or political) ramifications. In several conflicts including the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, religious elements are overtly present, but variously described as fundamentalism or religious extremism—depending upon the observer's sympathies. However, studies on these cases often conclude that ethnic animosities drive much of the conflicts.According to the Encyclopedia of Wars, out of all 1,763 known/recorded historical conflicts, 121, or 6.87%, had religion as their primary cause. Matthew White's The Great Big Book of Horrible Things gives religion as the primary cause of 11 of the world's 100 deadliest atrocities.


  1. Holy War

    Holy War is the second album released by the power metal band Dragonland, set in the fictional world of Dragonland.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. holy war

    A crusade; a war undertaken to deliver the Holy Land, or Judea, from infidels. See Crusade.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of holy war in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of holy war in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of holy war in a Sentence

  1. Giuseppe Mazzini:

    Insurrection: Insurrection as soon as circumstances allow: insurrection, strenuous, ubiquitous: the insurrection of the masses: the holy war of the oppressed: the republic to make republicans: the people in action to initiate progress. Let the insurrection announce with its awful voice the decrees of God: let it clear and level the ground on which its own immortal structure shall be raised. Let it, like the Nile, flood all the country that it is destined to make fertile.

  2. William Weinreb:

    He believed that he was a soldier in a holy war against Americans.

Translations for holy war

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"holy war." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jul 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/holy+war>.

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    lighter consisting of a thin piece of wood or cardboard tipped with combustible chemical; ignites with friction
    A tranquillity
    B bias
    C contribution
    D match

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