While using the term femicide I realised that the is another term, probably a synonym, feminicide.

From the following Wikipedia extract, the two terms appear to be synonyms:

  • Femicide or feminicide is a sex-based hate crime term, broadly defined as the killing of women but definitions vary depending on the cultural context.

while in the site "Femicidal Tendencies" they suggest that the two term have different connotations:

  • The question of whether to use the term femicide or feminicide during feminist discourse is a cause of great debate in the feminist community. At first glance the words seem strikingly similar, but they cannot and should not be used interchangeably.

Ngram shows that feminicide is less common and more recent in usage (late nineties) than femicide (mid seventies).

As for online dictionaries the ODO is one of the few to cite the term feminicide suggesting it is a synonym of femicide.


  • Are the two terms interchangeable or does "feminicide" actually carry a different connotation?

  • Is there any difference in usage between AmE and BrE for the two term?

  • 3
    Honestly, I've never encountered either term (and neither has my spell-checker). I wouldn't expect even people who have heard the terms to be aware of the distinction drawn out by your 2nd link, unless they are part of the community (such as that author is) dedicated to studying the issue. Now, though I hadn't encountered the words before, just based on their morphology, the generic meaning "murder of women" was transparent, but the other subtleties not, so I'd recommend if you really wanted to make clear the distinction between them, you dump "feminicide" and use "state-sponsored femicide".
    – Dan Bron
    May 9, 2016 at 12:07
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    @DanBron - if we are to believe Google Books, actually the term femicide is not that obscure in the U.S. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user66974
    May 9, 2016 at 12:15
  • 1
    I imagine there is a lot which is studied extensively in academic and political spheres which has not (and may never) reached the public conscious. If you like, take my original comment as anecdotal or experiential: I am willing to bet that if you pulled 10 people off the street, all of them could guess what femicide meant (at least broadly, forget the motivational or impunity aspects), but at least 8 of them would tell you they'd never heard it before.
    – Dan Bron
    May 9, 2016 at 12:19
  • 2
    FWIW, i'm a UK resident and i've never encountered this term (and i have a good memory for language). Instinctively I would guess that "femicide" means "a homicide with a female victim". To me, "feminicide" sounds either like something a woman might buy at the chemist (pharmacy) or "the murder of femininity" rather than the murder of a woman. That's just my personal take on it. May 9, 2016 at 12:34
  • 1
    @TrevorD - this should help: english.stackexchange.com/help/formatting
    – user66974
    May 9, 2016 at 16:38

3 Answers 3


I've come across "femicide" with the "hate crime" meaning, but never "feminicide". If it was commonplace I probably would have seen it despite only reading a little on related subjects.

Here in Britain, "homicide" isn't used as much as in the US, thus "murder" is the standard gender-neutral term. We only need a term for killing someone of a particular group when their membership of the group is important to the fact of the killing (in ordinary use). So "murder" suffices in cases where the gender of the victim is irrelevant or unknown, while "femicide" is appropriate for cases where the gender is important, and "feminicide" unnecessary.

Your second source may use a very specific definition local to a particular field, but I would expect this to be given at the first use in every work assumed at readers outside that field. Otherwise it looks like someone has slipped in an extra syllable - a not uncommon difference between US and UK spellings.


I would consider "feminicide" more likely to be the correct form, because the Latin word for "woman" is "femina," not "fem." "Femicide" may be in use, but in my opinion, the dropping of a significant syllable from the root word cannot be justified.

  • I agree with you, but the question actually seems to be asking for something different: a description of how these words have been used in practice.
    – herisson
    May 10, 2016 at 7:33

As a British English speaker* I would use neither, as I've never encountered either. My Collins dictionary (unlike my browser’s spelling dictionary) has heard of 'femicide', but just defines it as the killing of women. This makes sense by analogy to related structures, although as homicide refers to both men and women, the introduction of this word isn't very helpful as there is no word for the specific killing of men.

Similar words are composed of 'cide' (murder) and the person murdered (e.g. fratricide, matricide, patricide, infanticide, suicide, genocide — brother, mother, father, child, self, race), so coining words for hate crimes where the motive is incorporated into the word confuses. Indeed 'hate crime' would seem to be the expression in use today. So why not either use that or say “a murder motivated by hatred towards...”.

*Identification of origin only to establish what usage I encounter.

  • As a British English speaker what term would you use to express the concept of femicide?
    – user66974
    May 9, 2016 at 19:20
  • 1
    @Josh61 — I'd say something like "murder motivated by prejudice against/hatred for…". Makes clear what I mean and avoids coining something that can be misused as a slogan. Just speaking for myself.
    – David
    May 9, 2016 at 19:26
  • I've revised my post in the light of new information on the supposed word 'femicide', and to include the views in my last comment. Observations on the vocabulary of American college students have been deleted.
    – David
    May 9, 2016 at 21:18
  • Femicide is not that uncommon in recent usages compared to the other terms: books.google.com/ngrams/… - and Collins is not the only dictionry which cites the term: oxforddictionaries.com/it/definizione/inglese/femicide
    – user66974
    May 9, 2016 at 21:21
  • I think the actual usage of the word indicates that people feel it is, in its field, as useful as negricide may have been in the past. To answer you question (why not jus"t say...): because people usually prefer a short simple expression rather than a lengthy description of a phenomenon, expecially when they refer to said phenomenon multiple times in a single context. Basically the same reason that we say "table, and not "just" "a thing with a varying number of legs and a usually flat surface on top".
    – oerkelens
    May 10, 2016 at 8:52

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