AskDefine | Define noncombatant

Dictionary Definition

noncombatant adj
1 used of civilians in time of war
2 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)

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


  1. A non-fighting member of the armed forces
  2. A civilian in time of conflict

Extensive Definition

Non-combatant is a military and legal term describing civilians (unless of course they engage in combat) plus some military personnel, including medics, chaplains and those who are hors de combat.
Non-combatants are distinguished from unprivileged combatants: people who are fighting but are not privileged combatants (such as members of the armed forces) and who therefore do not enjoy the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention.
Reference: Geneva Conventions Protocol I, 8 June 1977, Art 43.2.

See also

noncombatant in German: Nichtkombattant
noncombatant in Japanese: 戦闘員
noncombatant in Lithuanian: Nekombatantas

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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