I would like to know if there is a word or phrase for a systematic campaign to annihilate every descendant of a particular ancestor.

We have the word 'genocide' for killing off an entire race, and plenty of words for killing people based on how they are related to you (fratricide, filicide, et. al.), but looking over the "cide" words on The Phrontistery and the List of types of killing on Wikipedia, I couldn't find a term for systematically killing an entire bloodline.

My question is prompted by a US news story about the horrific murder of 8 members of the same family, but those murders are not an example of what I'm thinking of because the children of the victims were left alive, so the motive for the killings was not to kill off the bloodline. The sense that some group had coordinated an attack against just one family is what made me wonder what the "not an entire race, just one bloodline" version of 'genocide' would be called.

Searching the Internet for "kill off" and bloodline sends me straight into the land of vampires, Illuminati, reptilian overlords, and, naturally, Priory of Sion nonsense so I haven't had much luck finding a thread to pull.

It may be that there is no word for it in the sense of murdering a human bloodline, because we just don't attempt kill off our royals down to the last heir often enough to coin a term for it. Maybe there is a scientific term for culling a line from a test population as part of biological research?


Familicide comes close to what you are looking for:

  • is a type of murder or murder-suicide in which at least one spouse and one or more children are killed, or in which a parent or parents and possibly other relatives such as siblings and grandparents are killed.
  • In some cases all of the family members' lives are taken. If only the parents are killed, the case may also be referred to as a parricide. Where all members of a family are killed, including when the killing takes the form of a murder-suicide, the crime may be referred to as family annihilation.


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    I came across familicide, but it doesn't have the same sense as genocide, or one group trying to wipe another off the face of the earth. A lion that just took over a pride killing off the cubs he didn't sire would be more along the lines of what I'm thinking of than a mentally ill person killing their family and then possibly themselves. Annihilation does seem to be a word of interest though. – ColleenV Apr 25 '16 at 17:58
  • Maybe it does though? The armenian Genocidd didn't, and probably didn't even try to, exterminate all Armenians. Hence Turkey calls it, I suppose, a relocation; not trying to venture into conspiracy theoretic discussions, though. – vectory Oct 16 '19 at 19:29

There seems to be no special single word for this. A Wikipedia article on a relevant Ancient Chinese punishment, the "Nine familial exterminations" (株连九族), just uses phrases like "familial extermination", "family execution".

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    I'm not sure why your answer was down-voted. I hadn't heard of zú zhū and found it interesting and relevant. – ColleenV Feb 23 '17 at 23:33

Extirpation is the precise word; you can also speak of extinguishing, abolishing, or purging.

  • There are a lot of annihilation related words in English, but I'm looking specifically for a "genocide" analogue, not a general purpose "to wipe out" word. I suspect there really isn't a precise one, but thanks anyway. Extirpate is a cool word :) – ColleenV Feb 23 '17 at 23:38
  • ...yes, hence my response. – Advocatus Feb 27 '17 at 13:34

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