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Is there a word that describes killing people based on that group's age?

For instance, genocide is a specific intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. So it is a pretty broad word including those of any subset of those classes.

It would seem to me that age would be a class. Its subclasses could include, with their respective killing descriptors, unborn (feticide), new born (Neonaticide), infant (infanticide), and the elderly (senicide). I imagine there are additional age groups with specific terminology that I cannot recall at the moment.

So would would be the term for killing someone based on age, irrespective of their actual age?

  • I'm confused. You seem to be looking for a word for an intent to kill everyone in an age group, but your subclasses aren't that. For example infanticide is not an attempt to destroy all the infants. – MetaEd Aug 27 '18 at 17:41
  • True I suppose, but it was the closest I could come up with. Couldn't they also be used for the mass murder of the respective age groups too? – Andrew Aug 27 '18 at 17:43
  • I think that the biblical account of Herod killing all new borns is commonly described as infanticide. It is on the wiki page at lease (for the validity that provides). – Andrew Aug 27 '18 at 17:44
  • Infanticide means killing infants, yes. So you might use it there. But even there it doesn't have the narrower meaning of killing all people of a particular age group. In the same way that parricide doesn't mean killing all parents. – MetaEd Aug 27 '18 at 17:49
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    I was thinking maybe "chronocide", but that's just killing time, isn't it? – Hot Licks Aug 27 '18 at 19:18
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Based on the common use of the word "cohort" to refer to a group of people of certain age (in statistics often groups aged 0-9, 10-19, 20-29, and so on) I suggest the word

cohorticide

rather than "agegroupicide", because "cohorticide" at least is consistent in its use of Latin roots.

Please note that a) I am not a native speaker of English and b) I made up this word, or at least I believe so. However, I would not be too surprised if "cohorticide" had been used already somewhere e.g. in some research paper on such a topic. I just thought it to be a chronicide (thanks commenter H. Licks!) to check this.

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Regarding: "age would be a class": Yes, in a sense. But that class can be broken down in various ways, all the way down to "classes" of one-year age increments, so it's not automatically obvious what the relevant categories are.

I think the terms you listed correspond better to the idea of "life stages" - and as you noted, terms like feticide, infanticide, and so on would apply. As MetaEd notes, those terms do not necessarily mean killing all members of those life stages. To denote such killing, I would imagine the only way to do that is to use a prefix term such as mass infanticide or complete senicide.

And a very generic way to describe these terms might be generational annihilation, generational extermination, or something like that.

EDIT BASED ON THE COMMENTS TO MY ANSWER:

OK, let's get to a mutually accepted definition of genocide to start with. According to Wikipedia, genocide is: "intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group) in whole or in part." If you have a different definition in mind, please post it.

But I guess you are interested in an umbrella term for genocide based on age in general, under which the specific subclasses (however narrowly or broadly defined) would fall. I would call that umbrella term "age range" or "age catgeory."

So one option is genaricide, loosely based on the suffixes used for octogenarian, septuagenarian, etc. But that's more about the suffix and does not actually include reference to the term age or age group. I found some Latin terms that are roughly equivalent to "age group," such as aetas coetus or simply aetate, but perhaps someone is better at finding a good Latin or Greek equivalent to the general term age-group-icide, which I think is what you're looking for.

  • I realize that the class can be broken down, similar to how genocide can be broken down into 4 main sub-classes, and each of those can be broken down into further subclasses, and some even more so. (e.g. Genocide > Religion > Christianity > Catholicism). But genocide would apply to the (grand)parent class and all subclasses. Here in my question, we have words that (closely) apply to the subclasses, I am looking for a word for the parent class. – Andrew Aug 28 '18 at 22:03
  • Good logic. A "generation" is a life-time-long duration, though. – Kris Aug 29 '18 at 10:56
  • @Andrew OK, see my edited answer above. – jrdevdba Aug 29 '18 at 15:57

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