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

  • n. A member of the armed forces, such as a chaplain or surgeon, whose duties lie outside combat.
  • n. A civilian in wartime, especially one in a war zone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A non-fighting member of the armed forces
  • n. A civilian in time of conflict

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any person connected with an army, or within the lines of an army, who does not make it his business to fight, as any one of the medical officers and their assistants, chaplains, and others; also, any of the citizens of a place occupied by an army; also, any one holding a similar position with respect to the navy.
  • n. A person not attached to a military unit, or not participating in the military activities of a war; a civilian.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who is connected with a military or naval force in some other capacity than that of a fighter, as surgeons and their assistants, chaplains, members of the commissariat department, etc.
  • n. A civilian in time of war.

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

  • adj. used of civilians in time of war
  • adj. member of armed forces whose duties do not include fighting as e.g. a chaplain or surgeon
  • n. a member of the armed forces who does not participate in combat (e.g. a chaplain or surgeon)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • "the term noncombatant is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, read US military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and/or not on duty."

    Monday, October 31, 2005

  • While the vast majority of contractor personnel were involved in noncombatant logistics tasks, DOD estimated there were over 20,000 armed contractors in Iraq during 2007.

    David Isenberg: Sergio Leone on PMC

  • But Tony, putting this military planning team on the ground at the Embassy is pretty typical of the next step in what the military calls a noncombatant evacuation.

    CNN Transcript Jul 16, 2006

  • I wasn't there to fight, but I hadn't been in country a week when I learned that the word "noncombatant" didn't mean much where I was posted, fifty miles south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that then divided South Vietnam from North.

    Iraq is Vietnam---and You'd Better Believe It

  • The same process for combat operations is sometimes needed during non war-related missions, such as noncombatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance missions and any contingency operations that may require an amphibious landing, he said.


  • [The] term "noncombatant" is interpreted to include, in addition to civilians, military personnel who at the time of the incident are unarmed and / or not on duty. " - Comments

  • A new U.N. survey has found that last year was the most lethal for Afghan civilians since 2001, with the Taliban causing a majority of noncombatant deaths.

    Think Progress » ThinkFast: January 14, 2010

  • Still, there is a wide discrepancy between the number of criminal prosecutions and the reported cases of killing and wounding of noncombatant civilians, as documented by human rights groups, the media and the U.N. fact-finding mission, which was headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

    For Israeli army, tests of accountability

  • Private contractors can violate the principles of jus in bello without fear of reprimand, most notably the principles of noncombatant immunity (by harming civilians) and proportionality (by using excessive force).

    David Isenberg: PSC and R2P in Libya

  • Generally noncombatant protesters minding their own business are not charged with violent crime.

    Think Progress » GOP congressman: Palin’s ‘reload’ map with crosshairs targeted at House Democrats is ‘inappropriate.’


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.