martyr

1 of 2

noun

mar·​tyr ˈmär-tər How to pronounce martyr (audio)
1
: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion
2
: a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle
a martyr to the cause of freedom
3
: victim
especially : a great or constant sufferer
a martyr to asthma all his life A. J. Cronin
martyrization noun
martyrize transitive verb

martyr

2 of 2

verb

martyred; martyring; martyrs

transitive verb

1
: to put to death for adhering to a belief, faith, or profession
2
: to inflict agonizing pain on : torture

Examples of martyr in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Any movement needs a certain number of courageous martyrs. Erika D. Smith, Los Angeles Times, 6 June 2024 Reid’s setup for the interview presented Mosby as a martyr — a progressive prosecutor who had the courage and audacity to charge police officers in the death of Freddie Gray only to become the victim, seven years later, of a federal prosecution over a petty crime that might not even be a crime. Dan Rodricks, Baltimore Sun, 2 May 2024
Verb
The former president recently ramped up his rhetoric of victimhood, hyperbolically linking himself to the struggles of famed South African leader Nelson Mandela against apartheid and sharing a supporter's comparison of his legal troubles to how Jesus Christ was martyred by the Romans. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 15 Apr. 2024 Our children have been injured, amputated and martyred. Khader Al Za’anoun, CNN, 22 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for martyr 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'martyr.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Greek martyr-, martys witness

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of martyr was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near martyr

Cite this Entry

“Martyr.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/martyr. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

martyr

1 of 2 noun
mar·​tyr ˈmärt-ər How to pronounce martyr (audio)
1
: a person who suffers death rather than give up his or her religion
2
: one who sacrifices life or something of great value for a principle or cause
3
: a person who suffers greatly

martyr

2 of 2 verb
1
: to put to death for refusing to give up a belief
2
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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