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conscientious objector


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One who on the basis of religious or moral principles refuses to bear arms or participate in military service.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Someone who refuses to fight in an armed conflict because of religious or moral principles.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. one who refuses to serve in the armed forces on grounds of conscience


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  • A conscientious objector (CO) is an individual following the religious, moral or ethical dictates of his or her conscience that are incompatible with being a combatant in military service, or being part of the armed forces as a combatant organization. In the first case, conscientious objectors may be willing to accept non-combatant roles during conscription or military service. In the second case, the objection is to any role within armed forces and results in complete rejection of conscription or military service and, in some countries, assignment to an alternative civilian service as a substitute for conscription or military service. Some conscientious objectors may consider themselves either pacifist or antimilitarist.


    February 5, 2008