noun, plural a·troc·i·ties.

  1. the quality or state of being atrocious.
  2. an atrocious act, thing, or circumstance.

noun plural -ties

  1. behaviour or an action that is wicked or ruthless
  2. the fact or quality of being atrocious
  3. (usually plural) acts of extreme cruelty, esp against prisoners or civilians in wartime

1530s, from Middle French atrocité or directly from Latin atrocitatem (nominative atrocitas) “cruelty, fierceness, harshness,” noun of quality from atrox “fierce, cruel, frightful,” from PIE *atro-ek-, from root *ater- “fire” (see atrium) + *okw- “see” (see eye (n.)); thus “of fiery or threatening appearance.” The meaning “an atrocious deed” is from 1793.

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