infanticide

infanticide
infanticidal, adj.
/in fan"teuh suyd'/, n.
1. the act of killing an infant.
2. the practice of killing newborn infants.
3. a person who kills an infant.
[1650-60; (def. 1) < LL infanticidium; (def. 2) < LL infanticida. See INFANT, -I-, -CIDE]

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Killing of the newborn.

Infanticide has often been interpreted as a primitive method of birth control and a means of ridding a group of its weak or undesirable children; but most societies actively welcome children and put them to death (or allow them to die) only under exceptional circumstances
e.g., when there is little or no likelihood of being able to provide support. As late as the 18th century in European countries unwanted infants were disposed of by abandonment and exposure. Firstborn sacrifice, or the offering of one's most precious possession to the deities, is known from the Bible and from the histories of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and India.

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      the killing of the newborn. It has often been interpreted as a primitive method of birth control and a means of ridding a group of its weak and deformed children; but most societies actively desire children and put them to death (or allow them to die) only under exceptional circumstances. Among the Eskimo, for example, conditions of life were so severe that it was sometimes the practice to kill female children shortly after birth, lest there not be husbands able to support them. In Polynesia, where populations often reached high density, similar practices prevailed. Children also have been allowed to die or have been killed with cultural sanction because of irregular mating (such as incest or conception out of wedlock), or abnormal births, or for similar reasons. In many advanced societies, children have been killed in the belief that it would ensure health, good fortune, and general fertility. Religious offerings, especially of the firstborn, are known from the Bible, as well as from the histories of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Firstborn sacrifice was once common among many peoples in India; here the motive was the offering of one's most precious possession to the deities. In modern societies the regulation of population with contraceptives or through abortion has tended to greatly reduce the frequency of infanticide.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Infanticide — is the practice of someone intentionally causing the death of an infant. Often it is the mother who commits the act, but criminology recognises various forms of non maternal child murder. In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were… …   Wikipedia

  • Infanticide — • Child murder; the killing of an infant before or after birth Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Infanticide     Infanticide     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • infanticide — 1. (in fan ti si d ) s. m. Meurtre d un enfant, et, particulièrement, d un enfant nouveau né, et, plus particulièrement, d un enfant nouveau né, par la mère qui vient de le mettre au monde. Cette fille est accusée d infanticide. HISTORIQUE… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Infanticide — In*fan ti*cide, n. [L. infanticida: cf. F. infanticide.] One who commits the crime of infanticide; one who kills an infant. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Infanticide — In*fan ti*cide, n. [L. infanticidium child murder; infans, antis, child + caedere to kill: cf. F. infanticide. See {Infant}, and {Homicide}.] The murder of an infant born alive; the murder or killing of a newly born or young child; child murder.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • infanticide — in·fan·ti·cide /in fan tə ˌsīd/ n: the killing of a newly or recently born child Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. infanticide …   Law dictionary

  • infanticide — INFANTICIDE: Ne se commet que dans le peuple …   Dictionnaire des idées reçues

  • infanticide — 1650s, the killing of infants; 1670s, one who kills an infant, from INFANT (Cf. infant) + CIDE (Cf. cide) …   Etymology dictionary

  • infanticide — ► NOUN ▪ the killing of an infant. DERIVATIVES infanticidal adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • infanticide — [in fan′tə sīd΄] n. [Fr < LL infanticidium < infanticidia, one who kills an infant: see INFANT & CIDE] 1. the murder of a baby 2. [Fr < LL infanticida] a person guilty of this …   English World dictionary

  • Infanticide — Le terme infanticide appartient au vocabulaire juridique et désigne à la fois le meurtre d un enfant, particulièrement d un nouveau né, et l auteur d un tel acte. Par extension, on parle également d infanticide en zoologie pour désigner la même… …   Wikipédia en Français

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