Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.
Because concepts such as cultural genocide and ethnocide have been used in different contexts, the anthropology of genocide examines their inclusion and exclusion in law and policies.
Raphael Lemkin, the linguist and lawyer who coined genocide in 1943 as the union of "the Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing)", also suggested ethnocide as an alternative form representing the same concept, using the Greek ethnos (nation) in place of genos. However, the term genocide has received much wider adoption than ethnocide.