AskDefine | Define paramilitary

Dictionary Definition

paramilitary adj : of or relating to a group of civilians organized to function like (or in aid of) a military unit n : a group of civilians organized in a military fashion (especially to operate in place of or to assist regular army troops) [syn: paramilitary force, paramilitary unit, paramilitary organization, paramilitary organisation]

User Contributed Dictionary



para- + military


(US) IPA: /ˌpɛrəˈmɪlɪˌtɛri/


  1. a group of civilians trained and organized in a military fashion, with or without the authority of a government
  2. a member of a paramilitary group


a group of civilians trained and organized in a military fashion
a member of a paramilitary group


  1. relating to a paramilitary


relating to a paramilitary

Extensive Definition

Paramilitary designates forces whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military force, but which are not regarded as having the same status. The term uses the Greek/Latin prefix para- ("beside"), also seen in words such as paramedic.
The term paramilitary is subjective, depending on what is considered similar to a military force, and what status a force is considered to have. The nature of paramilitary forces therefore varies greatly according to the speaker and the context. For instance, in Northern Ireland, paramilitary refers to any illegally armed group with a political purpose, but in Colombia, paramilitary refers specifically to illegally armed groups which are considered right-wing (e.g. AUC), while illegally armed groups considered left-wing, such as FARC, are referred to as guerrillas.
Depending on context, paramilitaries can include:


See also

paramilitary in Bengali: আধাসামরিক বাহিনী
paramilitary in Bulgarian: Паравоенни
paramilitary in Catalan: Paramilitar
paramilitary in Danish: Paramilitær
paramilitary in German: Paramilitär
paramilitary in Spanish: Paramilitar
paramilitary in Indonesian: Paramiliter
paramilitary in Dutch: Paramilitair
paramilitary in Japanese: 準軍事組織
paramilitary in Norwegian: Paramilitær
paramilitary in Norwegian Nynorsk: Paramilitær
paramilitary in Portuguese: Força paramilitar
paramilitary in Simple English: Paramilitary
paramilitary in Swedish: Paramilitär
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