Please help me to find the best words (possibly interchangeable synonyms) from among the words in the list bellow:

  • 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust. This has been one of the most ......... actions of all time.

Explanation: I need one or more adjectives from my listed ones which directly indicate "a feeling of strong dislike and hate, but not 'horror'; just 'hate'".

-1- disgusting

-2- revolting

-3- repulsive

-4- repugnant

For me 'disgusting' and 'revolting' mean the same and mean 'something nauseating". But what I'm going to use here has nothing to do with 'the feeling of nausea'! I'm going to imply a feeling of 'strong dislike and hate' when you see or hear or somehow come across such a seen or such an event. I think both "repulsive and "repugnant" imply exactly the same meaning in my question.

Do you confirm me?

  • 1
    Sorry, but I think this is an Off Topic opinion-based "beauty contest". There is no "best word" to describe something like the Holocaust - probably the only thing most people can agree on is that 6 million Jews died, not 11 million (it doesn't include all those combatants and civilians who died in Russia, Africa, the Far East, etc.). You could check out what others have written after the words the holocaust was the most... Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 12:16
  • Dear @FumbleFingers, first of all I have to thank you because of your concern and good attention; but I have to say that here is not a place of deliberation about a historical event. I am not a Jewish and where I live often people do not know anything about this historical disaster and people because of the political forces and beliefs even do not think of these things, let alone considering them. And I for one am not going to discuss about it. Just having a little search in Google you will easily find the number of the killed people about 11 million where 6 million of them where Jewish.
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 12:31
  • 2
    Key word: how many people were murdered in the holocaust. Result: 11 million people were killed during the Holocaust (1.1 million children). 6 million of those victims were Jewish. Other groups targeted by the Nazis were Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, disabled people, and Roma.
    – A-friend
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 12:32
  • 2
    Repugnant is the best choice of the four given. It is often used to convey the sense of moral odiousness.
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:10
  • 2
    Disgusting, revolting, and repulsive are often used interchangeably in a figurative sense that mingles the nauseating with that which is morally or socially offensive.The visceral element is missing only from repugnant.
    – TimR
    Commented Apr 3, 2015 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


Let's start with some definitions - these all from Google as an example will reveal that technically there is not much difference between these words:

Disgusting: arousing revulsion or strong indignation.

Revolting: "causing intense disgust; disgusting"

Repulsive: "arousing intense distaste or disgust" or "of or relating to repulsion between physical objects"

Repugnant: "extremely distasteful; unacceptable" or "in conflict with; incompatible with."


Disgusting to me brings up an idea of a sickening feeling in your stomach. Though of course it is used to describe many things other than food, smells, etc. It comes from a French word meaning "taste" (dis- being a negative prefix).

Repulsive is derived from repel (Latin) which means to push away.

Revolting is derived from Latin revolvere which means to "roll back."

Repugnant to me immediately brings up an idea of a bad smell. This is from a French word meaning opposing.

So really, repulsive and revolting are about the same exact thing. Disgusting is more about a physical sensation than a general want to be away from something. Repugnant means to reject something strongly.

To be honest though, none of these words (at least by themselves) are strong enough to describe something that is among the worst things that has happened in human history, and the netural word "actions" would make any word weaker in that regard.

I would call this an atrocity (pl. atrocities), and a word to describe could be horrific.

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