as·​sas·​sin | \ ə-ˈsa-sᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio) \

Definition of assassin

1 capitalized : a member of a Shia Muslim sect who at the time of the Crusades was sent out on a suicidal mission to murder prominent enemies
2 : a person who commits murder especially : one who murders a politically important person either for money or from fanatical adherence to a cause

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Examples of assassin in a Sentence

John Wilkes Booth was the assassin of Abraham Lincoln. shot down by an unknown assassin
Recent Examples on the Web Instead, jump back in time to experience the story of the former KGB assassin, played by Scarlett Johansson, alongside a fellow Red Room trainee, played by Florence Pugh. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "65 Movies We Can’t Wait to See in 2021," 5 Jan. 2021 Rafer Johnson, who won the decathlon at the 1960 Rome Olympics and helped subdue Robert F. Kennedy's assassin in 1968, died Wednesday at age 86. CBS News, "Olympic champion Rafer Johnson, who also helped apprehend Robert Kennedy's assassin, has died at age 86," 2 Dec. 2020 King had most recently enacted Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence by publicly forgiving his would-be assassin, a woman who struggled with mental illness. Sunil Khilnani, The New Yorker, "Isabel Wilkerson’s World-Historical Theory of Race and Caste," 7 Aug. 2020 Officials in the Mexican state of Jalisco said Aristoteles Sandoval, who governed the area between 2013 and 2018, was killed by an unidentified assassin while Sandoval's security detail was preoccupied. Spencer Neale, Washington Examiner, "Former governor of cartel-run Mexican state gunned down," 19 Dec. 2020 Abby pins her assassin’s hand to a windowsill with a steak knife. Abby Aguirre, Vogue, "The World According to Frances McDormand," 10 Dec. 2020 With the bravura release of the Double Fantasy album with wife Yoko Ono, he was poised and ready for an even brighter future only to be wrenched from the world by an assassin's bullets. Kenneth Womack, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Happened on John Lennon’s Last Day," 30 Nov. 2020 Some experts believe the man is Abraham Lincoln, captured hours after the nation's beloved 16th president succumbed to an assassin's bullet on April 15, 1865, a heretofore unknown photo of incalculable emotional and historic value. David Bauder, Star Tribune, "Documentary tries to prove existence of dead Lincoln photo," 1 Oct. 2020 He was remembered especially for helping to wrestle the senator’s assassin to the ground in Los Angeles in 1968. New York Times, "Rafer Johnson, Winner of a Memorable Decathlon, Is Dead," 2 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'assassin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of assassin

circa 1520, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for assassin

Medieval Latin assassinus, from Arabic ḥashshāshīn, plural of ḥashshāsh worthless person, literally, hashish user, from hashīsh hashish

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Time Traveler for assassin

Time Traveler

The first known use of assassin was circa 1520

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Statistics for assassin

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Assassin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for assassin


How to pronounce assassin (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of assassin

: a person who kills someone (such as a famous or important person) usually for political reasons or for money : a person who assassinates someone


as·​sas·​sin | \ ə-ˈsa-ˌsᵊn How to pronounce assassin (audio) \

Kids Definition of assassin

: someone who kills another person usually for pay or from loyalty to a cause

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