On Tue, 22 Apr 1997, Danielle Ni/ Dhighe wrote:
> According to Merriam-Webster, Holocaust can mean "a sacrifice consumed by
> fire" or "a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life
> especially through fire", which can be directly applied to the Witch Hunts.
According to that definition it seems that it *can* be, but it may be
no more reasonable to apply it to witch-burnings than to (say) Nero's
burning of Rome, or the German bombing of Coventry. To most people today,
"Holocaust" means "murder of twelve million people by the Nazis", which
is why it is far too emotive a word to be used only according to its
strict definition (and of course the term "women's holocaust" is a plain
attempt to "cash in" on the shock value of Nazi atrocities -- just as is
the term "Irish holocaust" when used about the Famine, for that
matter). However, this is essentially a debate about propriety, and
probably unresolvable because of that.