from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The systematic elimination of an ethnic group or groups from a region or society, as by deportation, forced emigration, or genocide.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The mass extermination or expulsion of people belonging to one ethnic or religious group by those of another.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the mass expulsion and killing of one ethnic or religious group in an area by another ethnic or religious group in that area
From ethnic + cleansing. Perhaps compare Serbo-Croatian etničko čišćenje, though this is probably attested later. Originally used of (and still chiefly associated with) the wars in former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. (Wiktionary)