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Borrowed from Late Latin internecīnus (deadly), from inter (between) and necō (to kill).


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌɪntəˈniːsaɪn/, /-sɪn/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌɪntɚˈnɛsin/, /ˌɪntɚˈnisin/, /ˌɪntɚˈnɛsən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːn


internecine (not comparable)

  1. Mutually destructive; most often applied to warfare.
    Internecine strife in Gaza claimed its most senior victim yesterday.
  2. Characterized by struggle within a group, usually applied to an ethnic or familial relationship.
    The Mongol people were plagued by internecine conflict until Genghis Khan unified them.
    • 2019 April 28, Alex McLevy, “Game Of Thrones suffers the fog of war in the battle against the dead (newbies)”, in The A.V. Club[1]:
      Having survived “The Long Night,” Daenerys will now be turning her attention back to the problem that originally vexed her: Cersei Lannister. It will be interesting to see how the show tries to raise the stakes of an internecine squabble between competing monarchs when compared to an existential threat to humanity’s very existence, but this series has always excelled when it goes deep on the machinations of political chicanery.
    • c. 1900, Mark Twain, Autobiography of Mark Twain, published 2010:
      During the year of my engagement — 1869 — while I was out on the lecture platform, the daily letter that came for me generally brought me news from the front — by which expression I refer to the internecine war that was always going on in a friendly way between these two orthographists about the spelling of words.


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