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Coined by Matthew White (see citation 1998, below), from hemo- + Ancient Greek κλυσμός (klusmós, wash; flood).


hemoclysm (plural hemoclysms)

  1. A violent and bloody conflict, a bloodbath; specifically (chiefly with capital initial), the period of the mid-twentieth century encompassing both world wars. [from 20th c.]
    • 1998, Matthew White, “30 Worst Atrocities of the 20th Century”, in Twentieth Century Atlas[1]:
      It's very possible, therefore, that future historians will consider these events to be mere episodes of a single massive upheaval -- the "Hemoclysm", to give it a name (Greek for "blood flood") -- which took the lives of some 155 million people.
    • 2001, Cheryl A. Kirk-Duggan, Misbegotten Anguish, page 67:
      In 1911, the Eastern hemoclysm, a Greek term for "blood flood," began with the ousting of the Manchu dynasty in China, leading to thirty-eight years of Civil War and a Japanese invasion.
    • 2011, Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Penguin 2012, page 233:
      ‘The twentieth century was the bloodiest in history’ [] The claim is rarely backed up by numbers from any century other than the 20th, or by a mention of the hemoclysms of centuries past.
    • 2013, Carl Mosk, Nationalism and Economic Development in Modern Asia, page 233:
      During the early phase of the Hemoclysm war still possessed a thin veneer of glory, soldiers dying with greater frequency than the unarmed masses of civilians.